SUBJECT LINE: I Did It Again… But At Least I Wasn’t The Only One! . . .
It’s been a while and frankly, I thought I had stopped doing it… but I found myself easily slipping back into my old behavior like a favourite, well-worn t-shirt.
But as I said… I wasn’t the only one.
Let’s be honest… we all do it.
And sadly, it’s easy to do.
Now you may be thinking I still have a case of the “jetlag” because I’m not making any sense and I’m sounding all “cray cray!”
So I’ll put you out of your misery…
I’m talking about… COMPARING!
And recently in Denver, Colorado… there was lots of it happening.
High up in the Rocky Mountains, copy of all different quality was flying left, right and center.
At the Speed Copywriting Workshop with Clayton Makepeace, the idea was to turn up with the first draft of a copy job and tweak it over the course of the event.
During the workshop, we saw copy elements written by the Pro’s and then we were given the task to correct our copy armed with new tips and tricks.
What a great exercise.
Our copy was being fine tuned by our world class Copy Chiefs during the writing time and everything was going well.
Then came the critique…
Now although I happen to think the Pro’s were quite soft on us, some people took their feedback very personally.
And it’s a natural thing to do. (It’s another thing we all do… if we’re honest.)
Especially when you’re an ultra sensitive creative.
However, something I realized a while ago is… in order to grow to your full potential… a bit of early pruning is absolutely necessary.
It reminds me of the tropical palms I have in my backyard…
If only I had cut the little shoots off at the base when they first appeared… and not waited for them to grow into full palm trunks that needed 3 people, a bunch of ropes, a power saw and whole heap of strategizing to make sure they didn’t damage any neighboring properties as they fell.
But we live and learn (the new shoots don’t stand a chance!)
Had I not gone through the whole enormous palm removal experience though, I doubt I’d truly appreciate any advice I was given.
Fortunately for me though, I have the ability to transfer a lesson like this to other parts of my life.
Now days… I’m very happy to cut the shoots off early and avoid traumatic amputation in the future.
Back to the critiques…
My critique experience was during the bullet segment.
I willingly volunteered… because I wanted to “Test my Mettle.”
I’d been complimented on my ability to write good bullets before, so I wanted to see if there was any way I could improve them.
Now before I go on, I need to clarify… The writing I have done up until now has been direct response, business to consumer type copy. I have followed the examples set by incredible writers such as Gary Halbert, Dan Kennedy and John Carlton. In this arena… I’m not too bad.
But in the writing world where the Pro’s at this event reside, like Clayton Makepeace, Parris Lampropolous and David Deutsch…
It seems I have a lot to learn!
- A LOT to LEARN!
My bullets were projected up on the screen for the whole room to see, in 2 million point font and as soon as I saw them… I cringed!
The bullets I had written and rewritten several more times (and been mostly happy with) had mysteriously transformed into writing that I couldn’t believe I’d written.
Not that I was ashamed of them… they just didn’t have “it.”
But what had changed so dramatically and quickly?
As I stood there in the room in front of my peers, their eyes a delicate balance of support and piercing judgment, the microphone trembling in my hand… struggling to work out what had changed…
Clayton Makepeace said 9 words which will stay with me forever!
Knowledge Nugget #53 – “Don’t Compare Your First Draft To My Final Draft!”
So that’s what had changed so dramatically and so quickly!
I was comparing my bullets to what had been on the screen previously…
Which were bullets by David Deutsch! (One of the greatest bullet writers ever!)
It would be like comparing a picture you drew in Kindergarten to a painting by Monet, Leonardo da Vinci or Rembrandt.
No sane person would do it… but then again, as I always say “sanity is in the eye of the beholder.”
But copy isn’t the only place we do this.
How often in life do we compare our “first draft” with another persons “final draft?”
If we are brutally honest… all the time!
But don’t worry, we’re not the only ones.
At Clayton’s workshop, everyone was doing it.
It’s silly really… a person who has been writing for around 5 years comparing their writing to a person who has been writing for 40 years.
That’s what we call in the business… an “Apples to Oranges” comparison.
If you’re going to compare anything, it’s always better to compare “apples to apples” or “oranges to oranges.” Then at least it’s a fair fight.
Life is about setting yourself up for success, not failure.
Be kind with yourself and don’t compare yourself with Pro’s and veterans.
Simply learn from them… and grow into your potential.
Until next week… be safe, take care and stop comparing! : )
a.k.a. “The Copy Alchemist”
P.S. At the workshop, one of the speakers mentioned about not waiting for the mountain to come to you and going to the mountain instead. I kind of thought it was funny considering where we were… up in the Rocky Mountains. To be honest, travelling half way around the world, dealing with jet lag, seasonal changes and altitude issues can be brutal. But going to Clayton’s workshop was 100% worth it.
P.P.S. Speaking of Clayton, he has been writing winning copy for over 40 years! 40 years! He really is the man at the top of the mountain (another example of symbolism that wasn’t lost on me in Denver.) It has been a dream of mine to be trained by him… and it finally came true. I’m hooked! If you’re going to dream… you might as well Dream Big!
P.P.P.S. Last week I promised a way for you to get your hands on a rare signed, numbered and company sealed edition of Bond Halbert’s new book. Well, to be in the running, all you need to do is 1. Be subscribed to receive my “Knowledge Nuggets,” 2. send me a testimonial about either my weekly email, my speaking abilities or for copy I have written for you (if you are one of my clients.) You’ll then go into the draw to win this wonderful book. See… it pays to read the P.S. doesn’t it. : )
*To received my “Knowledge Nuggets”straight to your inbox each week, sign up here!
“The Cool Kids Mile High Breakfast Club”
L to R: Rae Brent, Clayton Makepeace, Wendy Makepeace, David Deutsch, Pauline Longdon and Lori Haller