I sometimes wish I was more of a motor head.

My dad was a car salesman and I remember riding down the road and having him call ’em out left and right, “67 Buick Skylark…57 Bel Air… 62 Impala…” and then he’d rattle off horsepower, cubic inches, etc.

To this day, about the best I can do is point out the fact there’s four wheels.

So when it comes to motors, gear ratios, and the benefits of one carburetor over another, I’m pretty much clueless.

I do, however, have a serious appreciation for brakes.

Except – the brakes you apply needlessly to yourself when writing copy. I call them the top 3 NOs that’ll slow your writing down to a standstill:

1) No WHO – you don’t really understand your customer. If you can’t really walk a few miles or more in their shoes, sweating over what gives them the willies, feeling the sour stomach that’s driving them to despair… that’ll slow you down.

2) No FAITH – you don’t truly believe that what you’re offering will make that big a difference in that person’s life. If you can’t sign onto the project enthusiastically, all your efforts to persuade will fall flat. Meh.

3) No GUTS – if you’ve got 1 and 2 answered and those NOs taken care of, you still have to step outside your comfort zone and make the pitch FLAT OUT. Hold nothing back, because what you’re selling is truly transformational to the person you’re writing to – it’s a tall, cool drink to a parched traveler crawling across the desert. They need it – bad – so have the guts to give it to them.

You gotta know the WHO, you gotta have FAITH, and you gotta show some GUTS to get that letter done and out the door where it can do some good.

Don’t let the NOs have it.

Write faster. Write better. Right now.

– Jack