Archive Monthly Archives: February 2007

Deadline Blues

Just a quick post to let people know I’m not dead.

I’ve been slaving under a vicious deadline here — the actual due date is next week, but to get the gig done I have to gear up and head down that long, dark tunnel of Deadline Hell two weeks prior.

In my old life as “just” a freelancer, I would effectively cut myself off from society and friends and even fundamental hygiene (wearing the same clothes for days on end) in order to meet a deadline. My entire reputation rested on the fact I have never missed a due date for copy in my career, and delivered “A” list quality manuscripts. (This has pissed off most of my colleagues. Halbert even said it was “criminal” to have never missed a deadline, and made everyone else look bad. And, in truth, most writers occassionally miss a deadline here or there… but to my mind, part of being a professional is a hard-core dedication to keeping your promises. In essence: Be where you said you’d be, when you said you’d be there, having done what you said you’d do. Period.)

As a bachelor freelancer, I could get away with being a recluse for a week or longer. I’d just disappear.

I learned to quickly get into a groove, too — eat, sleep, dream and focus on the job at hand. There’s actually a kind of freedom in that… a luxury of forcing the world to go away, to ignore the hubub of modern life and everything else that would under other circumstances be a desireable distraction.

I’m no longer that carefree bachelor, of course, and haven’t been for years. So I’ve had to adapt, by calling up that groove quickly during whatever snatches of time I have available.

It’s a different way of working, but — again, as a professional — you just learn to get ‘er done. I still keep odd hours (went to sleep around 4 am last night), since I insist on never working tired, and nap frequently. (I also rely on my unconscious to come up with ideas and headlines while I’m asleep — a tactic I learned from David Ogilvy and have used for twenty years successfully.)

I could go and on about how I deal with deadlines… and maybe later I will, when I have more time… but for this post I just wanted to share a thought that I never consider unless I’m actually deep in Deadline Hell.

It’s this: As confident as I am that I can get the job done, at a level of quality consistent with what I’m capable of and with what the client rightly expects… I still suffer crippling bouts of doubt and anxiety during the creative process.

This used to freak me out. I’m sure it’s an emotional state close to what folks feel when they have a complete nervous breakdown… a sense of failure, of futility, of desperate panic and near-physical collapse.

Yet I find it funny, and even a bit invigorating now. The first few times I went through it — before I understood what was happening — I took it personally. I figured I was just inadequate, and a piss-poor excuse for a professional.

Then I discovered that ALL the best writers (as well as most other “creative” types) go through this identical stage during the process of crafting something new.

It’s like birth pangs. I won’t pretend to know what women actually go through during birth… but I’ve had women writers insist that at least the panic, the desperation and the physical exhaustion are the same.

Learning this calmed me down considerably. Nobody’s ever died from the angst of creating something. But — not understanding that the process was temporary and necessary — people have committed suicide because they couldn’t handle it.

So I’m telling you, as others told me: Don’t freak out. ALL writers go through a period of brain-twisting insanity while crafting good stuff under deadline pressures. (I haven’t tested this, but if you’re not going through at least some discomfort, you may not be pushing yourself hard enough. Naughty writer, cheating your client.)

It’s like exercising. I have a vicious trainer who takes great pride in concocting sadistic sessions that shoot my heart rate up to “running from Godzilla” levels… and if I didn’t undertand the process, I might avoid exercising altogether. But knowing the “no pain, no gain” rule, I have learned to just buckle down and face my lazy-ass demons and do what needs doing to stay in shape.

I even enjoy the exhaustion of pushing myself physically, once I’m into it.

So, yeah, I’m unhappy right now. Right after posting this, I will drag myself back to the job at hand, and go through what must be the twelfth edit of the copy to date (with another twelve to go).

Part of me would rather slash my wrists and be done with it… but my “greater” self just laughs off the desperation.

And here’s the punchline: Because there IS a deadline, this all will soon pass.

It HAS to.

That’s why deadlines are the writer’s best friend. Without them, there would be no logical end to any gig, and I can’t even imagine allowing this panic and sense of failure to last a second longer than it has to.

The deadlines I set are reasonable, and based on my long experience of what is necessary to get the job done right. Sometimes, it can be overnight. Other times, with heavy-hitting big league clients, it’s six weeks.

But the instant the job is sent off… I’m back to my normal fun-loving, embrace-the-world self.

Creativity is a harsh mistress… but for those of us who’ve chosen her, the grief (once understood) is worth it.

Stay frosty.

John Carlton

Wanna Be An Affiliate?

Quick note here.

You know I don’t pitch stuff much on this blog — I use it primarily as an adjunct to my monthly newsletter, The Marketing Rebel Rant.

However, I also like to use this blog as a sort of bulletin board. A way to let people know about certain opportunities they might not otherwise hear about.

Here’s what’s up: I’ve just started an official affiliate program.

That means I have a system in place that allows other people to offer my stuff to their lists, for a very generous cut. (I used to only do joint ventures — one-off deals that were seldom repeated. With an affiliate system, you can offer a deal whenever it fits into your schedule, and you have a code that tracks all sales automatically.)

Many of the top marketers online are becoming affiliates with me. And I want it known that — after meeting certain reasonable qualifications — I’m opening this new affiliate program up to others, too.

The qualifications are simple: This is a program for professional marketers, who already have lists they believe would be receptive to the material I offer.

That means you must have a list… and that list must be “hot”. My materials don’t do well to Biz Op lists, for example. And this is not a good program for anyone who intends to fish for cold leads (using, for example, pay-per-click ads or Clickbank).

If you do have a list of customers and prospects who listen to you, and you feel my materials will appeal to them, then you’re a perfect candidate for becoming an affiliate.

I won’t go into the specifics of the deal here (which are extremely generous). If you’re interested, email my Affiliate Manager at, and he will tell you everything you need (or want) to know.

That’s all for now.

Stay frosty.

John Carlton

P.S. We’ve all been so obsessed with Web 2.0 lately, that most of us missed the introduction of “Urinal Cake 2.0”.

I swear to you this is true. The Associated Press put out a story last week about New Mexico’s efforts to stop drunk driving… by putting talking urinal cakes in men’s restrooms all over the state. (Ladies: This is one of those items unique to the men’s room, I’m afraid. You probably don’t want to know more.)

Dig this: Each of these high-tech little cakes has a 3-month battery… and automatically delivers a recorded anti-DWI message to each, uh, patron.

The story doesn’t say if this approach has been tested or not. I imagine there’s a “sweet spot” in a drunk’s evening where he just might appreciate hearing what a soggy urinal cake has to say. He might even take the advice to heart.

However, I’m also pretty sure that — just before that point of lucid-but-illegal inebriation — the drunk will be so delighted at discovering such a treasure, that most of these chatty cakes will be stolen the first night.

I’m dead sober right now, for example, and yet I can think of about two dozen ingenious ways to freak people out with a talking urinal cake… all outside of its normal habitat. (I can almost — almost — imagine it appearing in a direct mail campaign for… something. Not sure what.)

In fact, I may just take a road trip to Santa Fe to go get one. What a prize it would be, proudly perched on my office shelf next to all the other weird crap I’ve collected over the years. (Like my Homer Simpson dressed-as-Santa singing doll, and the big-schnozzled Tiki God tissue dispenser.)

But to finish my point… I’m also pretty sure that — just after having one too many — many other drunks will use the occasion of hearing a lecture coming up at them from the urinal to experience a mental breakdown. “Dude, I’m telling you the (hic) thing was TALKING to me! Must be UFO aliens, dude! We gotta get outa here, NOW. (Hic) Let’s take my car.”

If anyone’s reading this while cruising through New Mexico, don’t send me one of these technological marvels unless it’s brand spanking new, and you stole it fresh and dry out of the box it came in.

Key words there: “Fresh and dry.”

Okay, I’m done.

Goop and Madness

Tuesday, 4:44pm
Reno, NV
“It’s alive, alive!” (Doc Frankenstein, on the first stirrings of his monster)


Man, it’s like deja vu all over again.

There are a ton of marketers making a ton of money, both online and offline right now… selling pure, uncut crap.

Nothing new about this. Back when the first caveman discovered the art of salesmanship while convincing another caveman to buy his old cave for a slab of mastadon meat… the next transaction to happen was probably a scam.

Like maybe trying to sell a fake cave. Or a cave with a bear sleeping in it. “Oh, didn’t I mention that bear? Sorry. And no, you can’t have your slab of meat back.”

The thing is, our capitalistic system allows for rapid financial reward regardless of whether you’re selling quality goods… or crap.

That’s why there’s never really been a truly “free” market. The moment someone with any power got scammed, laws were written and scofflaws were tossed into newly constructed hoosegows.

(Did you know, by the way, that the early European settlers in New England didn’t have anything resembling a jail for over a century? One colony tried digging a pit, but the prisoner escaped. We’ve come a long way, now with more folks per capita behind bars than any other civilized nation on the planet. Just something to chew on…)

Anyway, when you’ve been around business as long as I have — and I’ve been around a loooooong damn time — then you start to notice certain things that keep happening.

Like, for example… the cyclical return of the predatory multi-level marketing monster.

I’m not gonna name the current MLM goop out there, cuz it’s irrelevant. If it wasn’t this particular recipe of selected tangy herbs and zombie-ized crap, they would have found something else.

I’ve lived through three or four of these cycles. Lots and lots of money is made by some folks, and the buzz on the goop gets so hot that eventually stories appear in all the major magazines. (The same stories, pretty much, too. “Is this stuff for real?” the writers ask, all agog at the money and perplexed about the claims. God forbid they do any actual research on the goop…)

During the last go-round — in the late ’80s — the company behind that particular goop even bought a huge skyscraper in Los Angeles, and was drawing up plans for world domination just before the roof caved in on them. (MLM health-goop crashes happen just like the Dot-Com bust seven years ago — suddenly, taking whole groups of people down in financial chaos… and later, when the dust settles, it all seemed so obviously dumb…)

So allow me to set you straight here, in case you’re a little unclear on the concept: When it comes to maximum health, there are just 3 factors.

1. Good genes.

2. Good living.

3. And good information.

I hate to bust your bubble… but there ain’t no magic concoction out there that will cure your ills and make you live forever. At best, you may be coaxed away from your bad lifestyle, and introduced to the fundamental nutrients you’ve been avoiding, which may help a lot. (Amazingly, leading an unhealthy lifestyle actually contributes to ill health!)

At worst, you will be engaging in the power of suggestion and placebo… which also can work wonders for someone who strongly believes in magic.

In the end, however, if what you desire is good health and long life, you need to get hip to your body’s schematic. For every uncle you had who lived to 101 guzzling whiskey and chain smoking, you’ve got to factor in the four other tea-totaller relatives who dropped dead at 40 from heart attacks. That’s infomation.

Good living can be defined however you like… but in the end, it has to translate to being a better animal.

Exercise, eating well, indulging in a full life… we all slack off on the things we intuitively know can make us happier and healthier. So stop it.

Pot-bellied grouches die early. Smart, fit, upbeat people have a better shot at becoming Rip Van Winkle.

Finally, if you need a little magic to make sense of the world, then by all means go for it.

Whatever floats your boat.

But please — don’t fall for the scams.

Right now, the money flowing into that huge multi-level marketing monster roaming the country is just shocking.

So listen carefully: This type of magic elixir comes around like clockwork every generation.

And here’s how it works:

The goop is irrelevant. It could be (and sometimes has been) pureed compost heap. (The term “snake oil” comes from the common mid-18th century potions made from fermented rattlesnake heads and alcohol. Yummy.)

The ingredients do not matter.

What does matter… is the pitch

…and the choice of marketing organization.

The easiest way to generate a lot of money, fast, is to use the multi-level organization. I swear to you that many of these guys set the organization up first… and THEN go looking for some goop to plausibly fill the minor role of “product”. (They stay with herbs and “natural” ingredients to avoid the wrath of the FDA.)

MLM success is based not on actually selling the product…

…. but on convincing others to sell it for you. So you sit at the top of your own private pyramid, doing nothing but cashing checks, while your minions scurry about below either hawking the goop… or creating their own little pyramids of sub-sellers.

And you get a piece of all the action filtering up through your seat on the pyramid.

Most level-headed people, upon hearing of how the MLM scheme plays out, pause.

The organization seems to defy a basic law of the marketplace — if the goop is really as good as the pitch says it is… then why is the emphasis not on selling it, but rather on getting other people to sell it for you?

To go into the logical curli-ques of the MLM pitch would take many pages.

Because, after the organizational set-up, the next most important part of the scheme is the pitch.

And, when done right, that pitch will exhaust your brain, murder your intuition, and leave you believing that black is white. Reality and fact be damned.

It’s only job is to generate enthusiasm. Enthusiasm for all the money you’ll make, so fast and easy, coupled with your new ability to live forever by guzzling this delicious new goop.

Whatever the goop is.

Doesn’t matter.

MLM is all about the suspension of belief… so, in your fevered excitement, you begin to believe that YOU — yes, YOU, among all the people who have sought it from the dawn of time — have been chosen to be among the blessed few to finally — FINALLY — discover the Fountain of Youth.

And you deserve to made rich for doing so.

You may as well join a cult. Because the brainwashing will never cease, and you are in for a ride that will not end until you are forced to face reality again.

Some people will get rich. That’s a given — it’s the reason the “snake oil” miracle remedy has been part of civilization since cockroaches decided to partner up with us.

We all want that simple, easy answer to our problems.

We all want magic in our lives again.

We really, really, really want it.

And we’ll PAY for it, by golly.

MLM schemes have a half-life of many years. Unless they are careless — and a good organization will avoid saying anything in their pitch exposing them to easy prosecution — they will not be brought down by any legal action. You can’t legislate the yearning for magic.

Mostly, they just peter out. Some hang around in the shadows for generations.

Hell, some even have some half-way decent product to sell.

But if you’re paying someone, who’s paying someone else, who’s paying someone else, etc., for the right to sell your share of this wondrous goop to friends and family… then you’re not the rebel marketer you believe you are.

You’re just part of an MLM organization.

Hey, for some people, it’s a way to dip their toes into the business world, I suppose. Maybe a way to make a few extra bucks. (Though studies confirm that the average MLMer never makes back their initial investment.) (Which they probably paid to a relative, or someone at work.)

The thing is… you gotta get clear on how you define “success”.

If all you care about is making money, then go smuggle drugs. Tons of cash in that line of work.

If you want to have a legitimate biz, then strive to make it a good one. And watch who you’re learning from.

Just know this: There are mobs of marketers out there earning boatloads of money… selling crap. Not just the MLMer’s, either.

If your chosen mentor or teacher bases his pitch to you on the idea that he has made a lot of money, then do a little digging. Especially now, with the globalized reach of the online business world, it’s EASY to make a bundle selling shoddy, screwed up goods and services.

Because, again, the product often doesn’t matter. The pitch hits your hot buttons… and the organization attaches an umbilical cord to your wallet and starts siphoning up money.

Look for quality. Look for honesty, integrity, and a product that does what the pitch promised.

You can admire an organization’s ability to round up a herd of prospects, and a pitch’s masterful way of harnessing cash.

But you don’t have to admire the people behind it all when they’re selling crap.

We live in a world filled with illusion and greed and clever thieves.

Watch your ass. And skip the goop. Go buy a blender and some cheap but good protein powder, eat more fruits and veggies, and get off your butt more and go do stuff that makes you sweat.

No one’s gonna live forever.

And if you truly desire to get rich, you can do it with your head held high, selling quality products and offering damn good services.

I shouldn’t have to keep reminding you of this, you know…

Stay frosty,

John Carlton

3 Inviolate Rules We Routinely Violate

One of the reasons I got into teaching was a special notebook I kept throughout the early years of my freelance career.

In that notebook, I wrote down every non-writing rule I came across in business. These were not the tactics and tricks and secrets I was using to actually write copy. All those notes and insights went into different files.

No, this one special notebook was simply called “Nuggets”. I was hanging around stars, geniuses and wizards who constantly spouted little tidbits of wisdom — the guiding rules of their life — and I was astonished that few people were as knocked out by the power of these nuggets as I was.

I started my career as a freelance copywriter in a state of near-utter cluelessness… and I pounced on every shred of advice and insight I could find. I guarded that notebook like it was gold.

There was more to living a good life than just earning big fees as a writer.

As I began to taste success and enter doors previously closed to me, I saw the wreckage of ruined lives all over the place — guys who had achieved great things in business, but whose personal lives sucked beyond belief.

The first decision, I realized, was simply taking the obvious steps to getting your professional act together.

But the next decision was just as critical — and usually overlooked.

You gotta get your mojo together, too.

You must weld the Yin to the Yang.

I can always tell when a copywriting student is gonna go places in this biz — he pays as much attention to the non-writing advice as he does to the specifics of crafting sales pitches. Most are too full of raw ambition to see that “success” needs to be defined… and it’s different for everyone.

Nobody gets out of this world alive.

In the end, it’s not how much you earned, but how well you lived that matters.

And that’s where these “nuggets” come in. Back in the ’80s, there were oodles of books coming out that purported to tell you how to live. The best-sellers were like Robert Ringer’s works — tough, no-nonsense updates on Machiavelli and Sun Tsu’s “Art of War”. It was good stuff… but a little lopsided on the “kill first, ask questions later” model.

If all you read was the hard-core “greed is good” manuals, you might have succeeded at reaching your goals… but there was a good chance you’d be alone at the end of the day. And miserable.

I was fortunate to discover the other side of the “rules for life” literary trend. Og Mandino, for all his sappiness, still delivered a useable message of hope and empowerment. And the Americanized Zen of David Reynolds (“Constructive Living”), when balanced against Ringer’s “take no prisoners” tactics, offered you a breathtaking menu of life lessons that came close to supplying you with what it took to be a complete person.

Still, I noted that many of the basic rules my mentors were relying on each day weren’t represented in the popular books.

So I kept meticulous notes. And I took the lessons to heart.

I’ll share just three with you here. A sliver of insight, culled from a long career at the edge.

I’ve called them “inviolate” rules… meaning, you shouldn’t violate them, ever, if you want to live a super-disciplined life.

But I noticed that even the most disciplined and ambitious and proactive guys I learned from… violated nearly every rule they had, at one time or another.

And that’s another rule: There are always exceptions.

The difference is all about keeping your eyes open, and acknowledging to yourself that you are consciously going against your own rule.

Sometimes, life is like a horror movie. Yeah, you should never go down into the dark cellar after hearing screams… but if you’re the go-to guy in the group, then that’s what you gotta do. Even if doing so goes against the very fiber of your being.

Here are 3 “inviolate” rules that are routinely violated:

Rule #1. No good deed goes unpunished.

It’s astonishing to me how often this rule proves itself. I’m a generous guy, and I was raised to enjoy doing things for people. It’s a habit. When I’m in a position to help someone else out, I often jump up and go out of my way. It’s just my nature — and I’m not alone.

Americans in general — despite our current spate of bad PR in the world — are generous people.

But you cannot do something for another human being with the expectation that you will be rewarded. First, because that diminishes the act of kindness.

And second… because doing something nice for someone often kickstarts a thought process in the person being helped that doesn’t end until he’s convinced you OWE him even more help. More of what you did for him, and more of everything in general.

The psychological roots of this weird thinking are deep, and if you pay close attention you’ll discover that even you have engaged in it. (I distinctly recall being overwhelmed with gratitude at the better-than-I-expected salary I received from a mentor… and, less than a month later, assuming he should also kick in for a new car. I was horrified to realize I was punishing him for kindness… but at least I caught myself, and nipped that ungrateful demon in my head in the bud.)

And yet… I have never stopped doing good deeds. The idea of going through life refusing to be generous just because many people will consider you their private sugar-daddy is… well, it’s an ugly idea.

I’ll continue to violate this rule… but I’ll be ever vigilant to the possible consequences.

Being generous doesn’t require that you be a sucker, too.

If I do something for someone out of the goodness of my heart, and they shit on it… well, fine. They’ve burned a bridge, and it’s not my problem.

And it’s not gonna sour me on helping others.

Rule #2: All clients suck.

This is an easy one. All clients DO suck… because the very nature of being a client means you want something from the person you’ve hired. And as much as that hired gun is a pro — with good work habits and a dedication to deadlines — he still resents the fact that his skills have been bought with coin.

I try to make my freelance students understand that they are, essentially, whores. You take the cash, and work up a rabid enthusiasm for your client’s business and life. You are his new best friend, and you’re in it with him 110%… until you’ve fulfilled your paid-for duties.

Then, you’re outa there like a kid on the last day of school.

And the client, once he has what he needs from you, can’t wait to see the door hit you in the butt (most of the time).

It’s an adversarial relationship. Each side feels they gave it up too cheap.

What’s funny about this… is that YOU suck when you’re own client. Writing for yourself is one of the hardest jobs you’ll ever take on… and you must assume a schizophrenic duo-personality if you’re gonna be successful. Cuz you gotta kick your own ass, and set your own deadlines.

Still… in the end, the savvy freelancers among us all continue to hire ourselves out to new clients… and the smart business owners among us continue to hire new talent.

With your eyes open, and no illusions that these people really are your new best friends, you can make it work.

Rule #3: Do not go into business with friends.

I’ve seen 30-year friendships burst asunder, long-term marriages collapse, and even brothers never speak to each other again… all after making the decision to go into business together.

The trouble is in believing your closeness will overcome all problems.

You know… the way teenagers believe love will conquer all.

If you truly value any relationship, you will build a wall between it and your business life.

And yet… I have consistently violated this well-established rule time and time again.

What saved me… was the reality check I gave myself and the other people in the drama: If this goes bad, I will kill the association where it stands.

And I’ve done it. Over the years, I have tried a dozen times to bring friends into the world of entrepreneurism, and especially advertising. They had nothing going in their lives, were rudderless and desperately seeking a clue… and I gave them one chance to come aboard.

I had a single simple requirement: They had to get serious.

I would bend over backward helping them the entire way — personally teaching them what they needed to learn, overseeing their efforts, being that “secret weapon” watching their backs at all times. I would take them on as a private project, and pour myself into the job.

But they had to get their game on, and do what I told them to do. When it was about business, we were no longer equals (as we were in regular life) — they had to obey, and follow through, and trust me.

Of the dozen I brought into the field… only ONE ever made it a career. The others just couldn’t get past the idea of their friend getting serious about all this… business crap.

The one who stuck it out? I still act like a drill sergeant around him when the subject is business… and he has prospered. And, we still have the friendship, mostly — it’s changed a bit, but we’ve made it work. It’s like putting on a different costume, playing a different role depending on the circumstances.

It can be done. It’s not easy, though. Most people screw it up… and lose the relationship.

I violate this rule just as I do the others — with my eyes wide open.

I’m even partnered up with one of my closest life-long friends… and while we watch out for the pitfalls, there is always the chance it could turn out badly. Money and success can ruin anything.

But in a full life, you choose your battles and you choose your rules.

And even the hard-core rules were made to be broken — if you pay attention.

Still, it’s good to know the rules in the first place. It’s sorta like having a flashlight as you go down those dank cellar steps.

No, wait — it’s like being able to rewrite the script as you go. Maybe not the entire plot, but a lot of it.

Yeah, we do need the stinkin’ rules.

We just don’t have to always follow them.

Stay frosty…

John Carlton

Inside The Marketing Poker Game

Though I live near a downtown crammed pretty much wall-to-wall with casinos, I never haunt any of them unless friends are visiting.

And most of my friends, by the time they arrive, are visibly hungry for an evening spent in degenerate splendor, throwing their money away. The more gritty the casino, the better, too.

I had an old friend come up for Superbowl weekend with his son, and we decided to watch the slopfest in the dirtiest, darkest, and most out-of-controlRead more…

Bad Thinking Habits

Great article in the January 29th issue of The New Yorker titled “What’s The Trouble?”.

It’s primarily a deep deconstruction of how doctors think and make a fast diagnosis under pressure. Which turns out to be dangerously flawed in many cases… especially if they like you.

But the article also makes an excellent cross-reference to how the same kind of thinking can affect business owners. This isn’t about evil or obtuse agendas… it’s about how a very natural way of looking at vast, changeable, and not always clear data can mess with your head.

The result can be frightening for a patient. And disasterous for a business owner.

I love the New Yorker, by the way. It hosts the best writing in journalism right now, and yet it’s on the stands every week. (I have a subscription.) There’s no telling how long this excellence will last — it’s dependent on enlightened publishers, hard-ass editors (who barely exist anymore in journalism), and ambitious, competitive writers who are at the peak of their game.

Learning to write well has nothing to do with grammar. It’s about communicating. And it’s nearly a lost art in America. Molly Ivins died yesterday, one of the last of the truly-courageous Old School columnists and book writers in politics. (Thank God P.J. O’Rourke is still pounding ’em out.) We won’t see her like again soon… especially since the Corporate Beast discovered how easy it is to use books to coat public discourse with bullshit propoganda and rabble-rousing name-calling nonsense. (Both Al Franken and Ann Coulter fall into this category. These scumballs and their publishers are strangling American political dialogue.)

All this, however, isn’t necessarily bad news for people who care about good writing. And I assume this includes you, since you’re reading this blog.

The need for clear, truthful writing will be filled. If you care to join those of us who work to master the craft (and while it ain’t brain surgery, it does require waking up and facing reality), the rewards are beyond counting.

For business owners, the lack of good writing in your market is an opening you should leap into with guns blazing. Whether it’s honing your sales message, or building up your content and nurturing your list… this is the most important writing you will ever do.

And doing it really, really well allows you to stand out no matter how much better funded, or better situated your competition is. A single good copywriter can go up against Attila The Hun, Inc, and win.

Just remember that when I suggest articles to read.

Sharpening your ability to communicate is like putting money in the bank.

Stay frosty.

John Carlton