One of the best ways to beat writer's block and make your copy shine is actually an old improv trick.
Improv scares most people even more than simple public speaking (or handling snakes, the other top fear). There’s a sense of being so… naked and vulnerable.
No script. No road map. No way to predict where the scene is gonna go.
That is… if it weren’t for this neat little rule.
What is it? Whenever you are teamed with someone to create a skit… NEVER contradict your fellow actors.
The line you use is:
For example, one guy might say “Gee, it’s cold here in the Arctic.”
Don’t be a jerk and say, “Dude, we’re not in the Arctic. We’re in a desert!”
That leaves the first actor out in the cold, scrambling to figure out what the hell to say next.
Instead, say “Yes… And look at those penguins over there. They seem… hungry.”
Now, the story is going somewhere.
I took an improv workshop years ago. Loved it, even though it was easily the toughest class I’ve ever attended.
But that single rule of — “yes, and” — intrigued me.
And it made me a better writer.
Writing is like improv, in that you’re always faced with the problem of “What are you gonna say now?”
Facing the blank page can be torture.
The concept of using “yes, and” to move ahead appeals to all writers… because it’s so friggin’ positive.
Salesmanship thrives on enthusiasm, and shrivels under the cruel heat of negativity.
(It’s easy to be cynical and jaded — it’s the refuge of all scoundrels who can’t create anything, but consider knocking stuff down to be just as valuable. It isn’t.)
I realized that I’d been using that same kind of positive “move it along” tactic myself… every time I sat down to write copy.
A great ad may indeed start with some kind of urgent, dire problem.
And yet, the greased slide of the sales pitch MUST steer the process into positive territory.
- A solution…
- The restoration of hope…
- A pleasant picture of better days…
- Resolution, redemption, and success.
You didn’t know advertising was a distant cousin of epic drama?
Imagine writing this to a skeptical prospect:
“Sure, things are tough right now for you. But soon, you can start doing this. Yes, and also this. And this. And that. And also this other thing…”
Anyone with a drop of salesmanship in their veins has got to be nodding right now, thinking “Yeah… and thanks for reminding me.”
Stay frosty… and watch out for penguins bearing silverware.
P.S. Try this simple trick next time you sit down to write. Yes, and… you can start every sentence this way until you get a flow going. And then you can just go back and delete them afterward.
The result? Copy that is exciting and moves along at breathtaking pace. That’s just one tip.
If you want a lot more where that came from, the new Simple Writing System Coaching Program starts soon. Like any day now. And remember, it’s a whole year of mentoring this time!
If that’s not your fast ticket to success I don’t know what is. Anyway, this is your final notice from me.
If you want in, there may be a spot or two left. Check it out right here.