Las Vegas, NV
“Goan ta Lost Wages, Lost Wages…” (Steely Dan)
Got a new question for ya. And I’d love to hear what you think the answer is.
Please post your shot in the comments section below.
I’ll read ’em all (and you should, too) cuz the input that comes in via these little quiz thingies is often pure gold.
However — just to keep it interesting — the FIRST right answer scores a free copy of “Kick Ass Copywriting Secrets of a Marketing Rebel” (or a copy of the about-to-finally-be-re-released “Freelance Course”).
Unfortunately, you’ll have to engage your brain for this one. I kinda doubt there’s more than a handful of folks out there tuned in enough to actually know the right answer.
I’ll reveal everything on Friday, after I get back from this grueling road-trip I’m on. (Currently in Sin City for the SANG thang — goofing off and hanging out with the likes of Jeff Walker, Rich Schefren, Brian Johnson, Mike Koenigs, Stephen Pierce, Shawn Casey, Joe Sugarman, and too many more to name here.)
(Just heard Tony Robbins last night — great talk, and my mind is still racing from what he shared with us.) (Hint: How to thrive in the world as the economy plays out its destiny according to historical trends.)
(Also saw Paula Abdul, of American Idol, give her first public talk. I’ve got photos.)
(More on all this in a later post. I’ve got an iffy Web connection here in the Wynn suite that’s been my home for several days, and I just wanna touch base here… and rile things up a bit until I get back home.)
So here’s the quiz:
In a recent Twitter dogfight I was having with some other marketers, I inadverttantly revealed my 4 Health Rules For Physically Maintaining A Kick-Ass Writer’s Existence.
At least, I revealed 3 of the steps.
I just couldn’t bring myself to name the missing one (Step #3).
Cuz, you know… well, it can make people blush.
And, from what I’ve been told, it’s not nice to make people blush on Twitter.
However, on this blog… hell, I love making people blush.
So I’ll reveal that missing step here.
But not until I’ve heard some of your guesses.
Here are the 3 rules I did reveal, below. Remember: These are essentials for any writer who wants to avoid the catastrophic health nonsense that has ruined many another writer’s life…
Rule #1: Break a sweat everyday.
Writers can slip into becoming Couch Potatoes waaaay too easily. Once you start making money sitting at a desk, your brain will start telling you it’s okay to STAY sitting at your desk all day and all night.
Your brain, at that point, is trying to kill you.
We are animals living in a physical world. Your ability to think, act and work your mojo depends on your health. And your health depends upon your body working well.
Devolving into Jabba The Hut will not further your goals of wealth and happiness.
So do what you must to work up a good, stinky sweat, every single day. Walks count (as long as you’re chugging along at a good pace.) Games like tennis, raquetball, and full-court basketball (preferrably with people younger, faster, and more agile than you) are great.
Even better: Hire a freaking trainer to force you into shape. (Mine is nicknamed “The Nazi Bitch”, for good reasons.)
Just do what you have to do to get your heart racing, your blood pumping, and your sweat glands frothing.
Remember: You aren’t exercising if you’re not sweating.
Sweat is good. Thirty to forty minutes of it every day won’t interupt any part of your style, and will help you enjoy life at every level.
Rule #2: Breathe. Deep.
Most Americans don’t breathe at all. They “sip” air, using only the upper area of their lungs.
Writers are the worst offenders. There really is something called a “Writer’s Trance” — where you will slip into a slouch while deep in writing mode, breathing so shallow that carbon monoxide builds up in your system and you come close to blacking out.
Been there. Done that. Fell out of my chair in a confused daze, toxic with “bad” air that needed to be expelled.
Finding a way to avoid this trance is not easy.
Heck, I own the most expensive ergonomic chairs made… and it took me about 15 minutes to unconsciously figure out how to slouch in them and obliterate any benefit from the support.
Slouching, riveted on the process of writing, nearly immobile except for your fingers flailing away at the keyboard, while barely breathing… dude, you’re asking for bio-chemical trouble.
Your brain will curcle without plenty of oxygen. Thinking becomes sluggish, headaches ramp up, and dream-like states take over. (You may even hallucinate that you’re producing great copy, when in actuality you’re slinging slop.)
So learn to breathe. Yoga ain’t a bad place to learn the techniques. (Especially Hatha yoga.)
I won’t go into the details here, but you can easily master the technique of filling your lungs from bottom to top with just a few sessions from anyone you can corner who knows what they’re doing. A pretty yoga teacher is my recommnedation. I suppose you could Google for breathing techniques, too.
The thing is, breathing deep is essential to living well, and thinking well. Breathing shallow is for tools.
Quick technique: Set up a timer when you write to go off every 30 minutes. Stand up when it dings, stretch a bit, walk around, and do some focused breathing for ten minutes or so.
Then set the alarm again, and get back into writing.
I’m not gonna tell you yet.
You need to think about it, and give me your idea in the comment section, first.
Rule #4: Feed your brain.
This means exactly what you think it means.
When you really need to write well, nix the junk food diet, and eat as well as possible. Lots of fruits and veggies, Omega-3 oils (fish), high-end cuts of meat if you’re gonna eat meat.
No sugar. No snack food. No crap at all.
I’ve experimented with herbs like ginko, ginger, and other cool herbs which are supposed to aid brain function, but I can’t really swear by any clear-cut results. Try ’em, and use ’em if they work for you.
Very important: Do not rely on coffee to stay “alert”.
Rather, take a nap if you’re really tired. It’s a tactic all top writers know about — stuff your brain with info, then go sleep for 20 minutes and let your unconscious synthesize and data-mine everything. When you wake up (don’t sleep for longer than 20 minutes or you’ll get groggy), you will often be amazed at what’s suddenly ready to be written.
I’ve done my headlines this way for most of my career. USPs, too.
I never force myself to stay awake. You’ll spend 3 hours grinding out crap you’ll have to toss anyway… and by grabbing some brain-satisfying shut-eye when you require it, you can be more productive in half-an-hour than you’d ever realize in those 3 bleary-eyed hours trying to coerce results.
… that’s 3 of the 4 big rules for being a physically-sound writer.
Nothing particularly earth-shattering here. You may have known about these 3 rules already.
Rule #3, however, eludes even smart writers.
I have NEVER come across mention of it in any of the books I’ve read about writing.
I’ve never heard another guru talk about it.
… this rule came naturally to me, early in my career. It made sense. And it worked, by making me astonishingly more productive and effective.
When I met Gary Halbert, I discovered he lived by the same rules… including the Big One, #3 (which I will reveal to you Friday).
No hints. (Except that it does tend to make rookie writers blush.)
Try to imagine how your own physical manifestation of writing stuff might benefit from doing something essential and critical to your body’s health.
And submit your answer here, in the comments section.
First one to score wins the prize.
But everyone wins, of course, because the sharing of tactics and info in these quiz threads always delivers new wisdom and insight.
Okay. Let’s hear what you’ve got.
Sorry, in advance, if I’ve made you blush even thinking about this stuff…
You’re not following me on Twitter?
I post frequently throughout each week (usually in the mid-to-late P.M. hours, west-coast time)… and consistently keep things stirred up and off kilter.
You’re missing out, if you’re not at least road-testing Twitter. This is Web 2.0 on steroids.
Check it out.
Now post your idea of Rule #3 in the comments section below.
C’mon, don’t be a coward.
It’ll be fun.