Writing on the daily is a tough gig. It requires commitment, discipline and a focused mind.
But without a daily writing habit, most of us (mostly, me) would forgo writing for days at a time, and our craft wouldn’t improve. One day missed leads to two, which leads to weeks on end without writing a single word.
All of sudden, the blank page becomes more intimidating than your future hopes and dreams.
Here are 5 daily habits (writing or otherwise) to adopt to help you master the art of copywriting.
1. Read one successful advert a day
Advertising copy is often intelligently crafted. Mostly because the writer doesn’t have much (if any) room for unnecessary words. Every single word has to count for something meaningful to convey the right message to an audience.
Here’s one of my favourites that came out around the same time as the Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie split:
Clever, right? Three words used. A comical approach taken. This is an ingenious use of newsjacking.
Adverts are everywhere. As a writer, you should consciously read them on the regular and ask yourself ‘why has the writer chosen that angle?’ or ‘what could I have done there that would improve that advert?’.
Writing is everywhere. Soak it up!
2. Write in blocked out chunks
In takes a while to reach that flow state mindset with writing. If you’re constantly doing two things at once, you’ll never delve deep enough into your article, novel or short story to make it worthwhile.
Block out set chunks of distraction-free time to get your writing done. Some people prefer early in the morning before anyone else is up. Others prefer late at night when everyone else is asleep. There is no right way, just be sure to put time aside to write.
3. Read, and keep reading
Stephen King once said:
If you want to be a writer, you must do two things: Read a lot and write a lot.
Like reading good adverts, you should be reading good books, articles, news pieces etc etc, as often as you possibly can.
Good writing is good reading, and good reading leads to better writing. Whatever it is you’re reading, study its structure, question its themes, understand its value.
4. Write compelling headlines, ledes and kickers whenever they come to mind
Donald Murray famously wrote in ‘Writing to Deadline: The Journalist at Work’ that he writes 50 headline ideas for every article he’s working on.
I don’t. 50 headline ideas is a lot.
But I do often toy with a few ideas before I begin a piece. Not only does it help you sharpen your headline, it helps you practice the art of headline writing, too.
And headline writing is hard.
So are ledes and kickers for that matter. Read here to find out more about what they are and why you need to be thinking about them.
5. Drink coffee in the afternoon, not the morning
I don’t follow this rule at all, but I felt it a trivial but important one to note.
Most of us view coffee as a ‘wake up’ drink, rather than a ‘keep awake’ drink.
I know I know, what’s the difference, right?
In short, caffeine makes us more alert because it gives us adrenaline, which counters the feeling of being tired. But we’re often not tired in the morning, we’re just not yet awake enough.
However, at 3pm, we (I say ‘we’, it’s more like ‘I’) hit a brick wall, and quite hard.
Between 3 and 5pm is often wasted on menial tasks. But if I brew up a 3pm cup of coffee, it’s often just the thing I need to see me through the rest of my day. Either than or a 10/15 minute power nap. Watch here as to why this is important:
There’s so much more where that came from
There’s a lot more that’s required to master copywriting than the above five habits. Exercise, regular breaks, in-depth research and good SEO practice are just a few daily habits to adopt to succeed at the art of copywriting.
Do you have any daily habits that are worth adopting?