Way back in college when I was an English Major with dreams of making a living as a writer, I wrote more than my share of painfully awful short stories, as well as a number of equally horrendous stage plays.

I did, however, manage to win a trip to the annual Cranbrook Academy’s Writer’s festival with my play: “Goat Leaves the Tree.” (The title’s likely the only memorable thing about this script.) I took great pride in having been so honored, but that faded once I discovered the following year my success was due primarily to having been the only play submitted – proving once again, simply showing up is more than half the battle.

But the lasting value to me as a writer was that the process of writing “Goat” taught me a valuable strategy for writing extremely fast.

It was the first script I ever wrote where I’d fully embraced the idea of outlining the play down to a “Beat-by-Beat” level. A “Beat” is simply a key moment in the storyline – a character makes a discovery, an unexpected event takes place, a decision is made, a battle is won, and so on.

Before “Goat,” every script I had written (and every story as well) had been essentially a stream of consciousness effort. Blank page, start writing, not sure where I’d wind up. But with “Goat” I invested serious thought and effort into laying out every single Beat in the story.

With all the Beats complete, I then started writing dialog and scenes… and was astonished at how fast I was able to complete the entire script. Far faster than anything else I’d ever written before.

And this lesson holds true for writing copy as quickly as possible.

  • Always work from a PLAN.

Yes, you can write copy starting from a totally blank page and nothing else. But it’s a whole lot easier if you have at least some kind of plan in place, which can include things like:

  • Details of the offer
  • List of objections
  • Basic sales letter template/outline
  • Scarcity you intend to push
  • Social proof you can include
  • Etc. you get the picture

Having these in place BEFORE you start typing cannot help but make the effort easier and MUCH faster.

Next time you’re working on Killer Copy, take a moment to make sure you already have at least some kind of plan in place.

Write on.


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