Tag Archives: copywriting

Writing Journal 17: Web Writing, Fiction, and Parrots

Writing Journal 17:  Web Writing, Fiction, and Parrots

My writing journal for Friday, August 29, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

Rush gig: Web pages for a copywriting client

No fiction or nonfiction this morning. Last night I received a message from a client. He needs a set of Web pages in a hurry. I got up, made coffee, and started working on them immediately.

Result? I feel vaguely disoriented. My mind expects me to open Scrivener and work on my novella, and then the nonfiction book. The boys in the basement are upset. They’re yelling. :-)

I’ve drafted the Web pages, so it’s time to take a break, feed Honey, and check email.

Email: Mailbox is amazingly fast

Mailbox can’t sort my email as Gmail does, so I’m still opening the morning’s email in Gmail. Then I use Mailbox for the rest of the day.

After working with Mailbox throughout the day on my devices and Mac, Gmail-in-browser (Chrome) appears SLOW and sluggish. It’s a relief to close it down.

Mailbox creates its own labels in Gmail. That’s handy, because I can move messages in Gmail to Mailbox labels — Later, To Read — and deal with them in Mailbox.

I read somewhere that the developers wanted Mailbox to be more like messaging than email, and it has that feel. You can draft an email message in Mailbox on Mac, then open Mailbox on the iPad, and the message is there instantly, ready for you to complete and send.

Gmail has the BEST spam control

Using Mailbox has helped me to appreciate Gmail. You can add your iCloud accounts to Mailbox, so I’m seeing more spam than I normally do. All my other email accounts are directed to Gmail, because it detects spam wonderfully well. With Mailbox, you get the iCloud spam, as-is.

Email’s done, so it’s time to have my own breakfast, and then get back to writing the client’s Web pages.

After breakfast, it’s back to the rush copywriting job until it’s time for my walk.

Parrots everywhere: spring is coming

Lots of birds around today, mainly small honey-eating parrots, and the horrible Indian mynahs. They’re called “flying rats” for a reason. Mynahs have bullied native finches out of existence. We used to have finches in abundance, now they’re rare. I haven’t seen any in our garden in at least a couple of years, and that’s sad.

Eastern Rosella

According to Birdlife Australia — the parrots are Eastern Rosellas and Rainbow Lorikeets. They swoop across the road and in and out of bushes. Then they settle to feed on banksia flowers.

The Web pages are proofed, and off to the client.

Lunch at the computer; no time for our usual Friday lunch — and no hummingbird cake. (Sniff.)

After a busy morning, it takes an hour to catch up on email and phone calls.

I complete the draft of an article about Haiku Deck. Haiku Deck has saved me lots of time over the past year.

Back to the novella, at last

My brain’s fuzzy; I’m not in the mood for fiction, but I press on anyway. I read through what I have, make some notes and create a cluster diagram Before I know it, I’ve completed 1200 words.

On to nonfiction. After a couple of timer sessions, 1500 words, which is fine for today.

I need the rest of the afternoon to catch up on admin, so I turn up Spotify, and get on with it. Sigh… I do dislike administrative stuff, but needs must.

Notability arrives for the Mac — good news

One of my favorite iPad apps is available for the Mac. Great news. I use Notability for interviews, as well for planning. TC has an article on it. Apparently it’s popular with students who record lectures and make notes, and lawyers too.

Finally the day’s done. I do the daily review, and total my word count – and the week is done too.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

photo credit: Chip_2904 via photo pin cc

Writing Journal 15: Phone Coaching, Mailbox

Writing Journal 15: Phone Coaching, Mailbox

My writing journal for Wednesday, August 27, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

Yes! The words are flowing again

A great writing morning. Up early again, and 1,100 of novella #4 flowed easily. I would have managed more words, but needed to research a couple of character names. I do most research after the first draft, but character names are vital, so I needed to get a couple of 18th century French surnames right.

Next, I focused on the novella’s first two scenes. I gave one of the main characters more to do (rather than just talk), and made him stronger. He’s now got more potential for change, which magically made the later scene, which I wrote today, stronger too. When in doubt, always go back to the beginning. Kick it up a notch.

Tip: when you’re writing fiction, have people do stuff. Don’t just say “he was a mean old man” — show him kicking the cat when no one’s looking.

If you follow the strategies in Authentic Writing, you’ll discover some of these simple tricks for yourself.

I managed 2,000 words of nonfiction. If I keep this up, I’ll finish the ebook before the deadline. That’s always a good thing.

Julia’s sent off novella #3 to the editor. Julia likes the book, so that’s good too.

It rained overnight, and it’s still raining. No time for a walk this morning. I’ve got errands to run, so I need to get some client copywriting projects under way, because I’ll be gone for most of the morning.

This afternoon, I have some client and student coaching. In between all that, I need to work on another couple of blog posts for clients. And complete the client presentation. Another hour on that should do it.

Honey’s arthritis is making her stiff this morning. She still gobbles her breakfast. She’s always been a good eater.

Phone coaching sessions

I had lunch with a friend who runs a local bookkeeping service for small businesses. We talked about Google+, which I enjoy, and which she’s just starting to use.

In the office again, to more email — and a surprise. I received an invitation to the beta of Mailbox for Mac.

Mailbox is owned by Dropbox. If you link Mailbox and Dropbox, you get a free gig of storage. Here’s a review of Mailbox. I like the threading; it’s easier to follow conversations.

First impressions: it feels like Sparrow — an email app I paid for. Then stopped using because of the bugs. Once the bugs were ironed out, Google acquired it. Mailbox is much faster than Sparrow; Sparrow took forever to download emails.

Next, preparation for the coaching sessions, and the sessions themselves.

Then onward to a couple of quick blog posts for clients blogs. They’re already drafted. I added a few paragraphs to each, and they were done and scheduled. They would have been faster, but I had to hunt for images. I meant to find more images last weekend, but didn’t get around to it.

And the day’s done. Daily review; word counts respectable.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Writing Journal 14: Short Stories Sell

Writing Journal 14: Short Stories Sell

My writing journal for Monday, August 25, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

Novellas

Up at 5AM, eager to write. Did more outlining on the current novella, which is #4, and wrote 1,100 words. I could have written more, but spent one timer session to researching so that I can create the meta data for novella #3.

I spent an hour reading #3, in preparation for the edit. I need to get my edit finished, so that I can send off it off to the contracted editor. I promised her the material today, thinking that I could get it done over the weekend, but that didn’t happen.

Also wrote 1,000 words of nonfiction on the client’s book. I’m a little ahead of where I should be, so I stole time from this project for the novella.

Breakfast for Honey, and for me, while reading email. We get a lot of email over the weekend, because students complete their exercises, and are impatient for feedback. So, email takes a little longer today.

Time for a walk, and then time to sort out the week’s schedule with Julia.

Next, I work on a couple of copywriting projects from last week. I always like to leave a couple of days between writing, and editing, to clear my mind. They’re fine, so Julia can send them to the clients.

Blog posts. One for a client blog, and Short Stories Sell, for the freelance writing blog.

I also wrote a blog post for the Just Write a Book Blog, Write a Novel, or a Short Story?

Lunch, at my computer, reading students’ projects.

Short stories SELL (for the first time in decades)

Readers buy short stories. I know that from my experiences with publishing my own fiction to Amazon, and ghostwriting fiction for clients.

Writers think that there’s a catch… Why do short stories sell on Amazon?

I’m sure that it’s because we’re all pressed for time. I download a short story to read because I have a few minutes to relax, and I’m in the mood for a story of that genre.

In the days when I bought hardcover and paperback books, and visited the library every week, I felt obliged to read everything I hauled home. I went to all that trouble, so I should read the books, right? :-) Today, I’ve got 2,000 ebooks on my Kindle. I may read a chapter or three, or I may read the entire ebook.

Consider too, Kindle Unlimited. Readers can download ten ebooks at a time. Why not download a short story? They can finish a story quickly.

So that’s my theory on why short stories sell now: readers like them because they’re a quick read.

You don’t have to write a novel to justify your price

Writers tend to think that if they write a short story, they have to give it away for free, or sell it for 99 cents. Nonsense. Sell your story for $2.99.

Client deadline

Next, I’m on deadline for a long article I’m ghostwriting for a client. I had a chat with him last week to get material. Now I need to add the additional material, and write another draft.

I can chop the article into separate documents in Scrivener, and then drag the snippets around. Then, if I like the structure of the article in Scrivenings mode, I can redo the transitions, and it’s done. God bless Scrivener. Saves so much time.

That’s it for today. :-)

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Writing Journal 11: Copywriting, Blogs and Clever Traffic Trick

Writing Journal 11: Copywriting, Blogs and Clever Traffic Trick

My writing journal for Friday, August 22, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

The fourth novella is underway; I LIKE these characters

Sometimes you create characters who are fun from the get-go. You know them, and you love them. Sheer happiness. I was right to trash what I’d created originally, to go with this new idea.

Did a cluster diagram for the first scene, then another for the two main characters’ emotional arcs though the book.

Wrote just 1,200 words, but the material’s solid.

A tip: if you cluster before, during, and after a fiction project, you’ll find that it’s easier to get the voice of a character right. You’ll need to tidy up in your second draft, but the voice is there from the start.

Authentic Writing, our new program, helps you to build your clustering skills with lots of how-to and exercises.

Nonfiction, and copywriting…

On to nonfiction. I dug in, and wrote 2,500 words. This book is going to go fast, which is a good thing. More research on the tagline I’m doing for the client, and a cluster diagram, just to see what’s in my head.

Next, Honey’s breakfast, and catching up on email during my own breakfast.

Whew, lots of copywriting, and client blogging to do today. I make a quick cluster on an index card, because I remember visuals more easily than lists.

Which reminds me. I need to get more images. I keep a running list of images I need for current and upcoming projects. The list’s getting too long.

I created a task to explore stock photo libraries on the weekend, to whittle down the list. I also need to email my blogging clients to nag them for PHOTOS. I don’t particularly care what kind of photos, anything will do.

Images are becoming essential for social media. You can’t encourage people to share your content if you ham-string them with image-less content.

Then I make some audio notes in Evernote. It’s often easier just to blurt out my thoughts, rather than write.

Next, my walk, with phone in hand, to make more audio notes, and to check my Reminders in Evernote.

Copywriting and blogging: crack the whip — onward!

I’m back, and it’s a full morning of copywriting projects and blogging.

Get traffic from Slideshare with blog post PDFs

Apropos of blogging, I tried out a little trick that traffic guru Ana Hoffman talked about — turning blog posts into PDFs, and uploading them to Slideshare. I didn’t think it would work as advertised.

It does. It’s EASY. Here’s a link to a slide deck I created from a blog post PDF.

PrintFriendly is an excellent resource too. It creates no-hassle PDFs from Web pages fast. I added the extension to Chrome; very useful.

meerkat

Heh. Simples (in meerkat voice… )

After I uploaded the PDF, I downloaded it from Slideshare to make sure the links survived when people save the PDF, and they did. :-)

Excellent. Ana always has wonderful ideas. I must remember this simple trick; several of my clients will benefit from it. It takes just a couple of minutes — remember to edit the blog post to add a bio, you can remove it later, and you’re done.

 

Out of the office, Friday lunch

Julia and I close up and leave for our usual Friday lunch. Excellent… I can indulge my Hummingbird cake addiction. Julia suggests that I make it at home, and kill the addiction by over-indulging. Good idea. :-)

This recipe looks easy.

More blogging and copywriting projects

I return some phone calls, catch up with students on email and Trello, then focus on blogging for clients. I’ve been blogging since 1999, and blogging for clients since 2004. A decade. The mind boggles. I love blogging because it’s instant publishing — and instant gratification too.

Here’s my process:

  1. Create a content calendar for a blog (after a lot of research;)
  2. Develop goals for the blog;
  3. Create draft posts;
  4. Schedule posts to publish.
  5. Schedule on-going research for each blog, and communication with clients. I get in touch at least once week, and I’m copied on all up-coming marketing campaigns. You can’t write blog posts without raw material.

I do the reading and research in the evening; I don’t have time during the day. Evernote is a godsend, because I can clip research into Evernote, so that by the time I’m ready to draft some posts, I have the materials.

Next, it’s time to finish up as many copywriting projects as I can, so that Julia can proof everything.

And we’re done. Daily review and word count: done. Time for the weekend…

I love the meerkat ad. Here you go, if you haven’t seen it…

 

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Writing Journal 10: Fiction, Copywriting, and Nonfiction Review

Writing Journal 10: Fiction, Copywriting, and Nonfiction Review

My writing journal for Thursday, August 21, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

Fiction: fourth novella started

Early morning start with fiction. Time to begin the new novella. I’d already outlined this novella, but I came up with a fresh idea. So I did an initial cluster diagram for the people and the plot.

It’s a fun and exciting plot, and I adore the main characters. Wrote 600 words; just planning material. Outlined the first scene. It made me laugh out loud when I when I was outlining it, so I’m looking forward to writing it.

I made good use of The Writer’s Digest Character Naming Sourcebook by Sherrilyn Kenyon. I have the hardcover first edition, published in 1994. It went out of print a few years after that, and second-hand copies were selling for hundreds of dollars. That must have inspired the publisher to bring out a second edition; it’s an excellent reference, highly recommended.

Looking for a nonfiction book idea?

If you’re looking for a good nonfiction book idea, here you go: create a character naming book for fiction writers. Not merely lists of names, but also chapters on how to name your characters in various genres.

I did an Amazon search, while there are few reference books on naming characters, genre-specific character naming books should sell well. I’d buy one on naming characters in the various romance genres, for sure.

Since I’ve got a busy couple of days, I’ll save reading and editing the LONG third novella I completed yesterday until the weekend.

I need to get going on this new book. I’ve already second-guessed myself by discarding my first outline. So I want to get it well underway, in case I change my mind again. I also need to get a little distance from third book, so I can see where the holes are.

No time for the nonfiction book this morning. I need to complete a couple of client copywriting projects. I’d hoped to do them yesterday afternoon, but I got back too late.

First one: client’s okayed the sales letter I sent him for review, so I need to write a couple of email messages for him to send to his list.

Second: write some calls to action for a client’s newsletter, plus edit the newsletter so that Julia can format it and send it to the client.

A quick pause to give Honey her breakfast, and have my own.

Then back to the office.

Authentic writing — program page completed, and online

Authentic Writing: Develop Your Writer’s Voice, And Sell

I completed the program page for Authentic Writing: Develop Your Writer’s Voice, And Sell  — it’s now online.

I’m hugely excited about this new program. My coaching students are getting results with the process, and the beta testers did amazingly well with it.

Then, on to email from clients, and students.

I need to return lots of calls since I was out at the on-site yesterday, so that’s next.

A busy morning. I need to clear my mind, so I’m off for a walk… No, I’m not. It’s raining again. Sigh… I’ll go this afternoon. I play some music to clear my mind, and do a cluster diagram of the MUST DO tasks for the day. A couple of ebooks are back from editing, so they take priority.

Next, audios for my coaching students

I enjoy creating videos, but they can be a bear for people to download if they don’t have a reliable connection, or if they’re using a phone or tablet.

After many requests, I’m creating more audios. Audio files are smaller, and as useful as videos, if the accompanying material is outlined in steps.

It’s time to run some errands, and then lunch.

Final review and edits on two ebooks

My editor’s sent her edits on two nonfiction books. She said they’re clean. Just some fact checking, and more explanatory paragraphs needed in some chapters. I want to get them done. Then I can send them off to the beta readers and the client. I’ll need to spend the next few hours on it.

Some writers hate editing. I enjoy it. My only challenge is to stop myself from writing more. I return a phone call. Then I turn on Spotify and dive in.

More phone calls, so I can catch people before they go home for the day. Then back to the edits.

Finally done. I managed to complete a couple of small copywriting projects too, so a very good day.

Oh woe – I never did go for my walk. The horror… Silver lining: at least I got the work done.

Daily review done; word counts done… done for the day. :-)

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Writing Journal 9: Novella DONE, Scrivener, And An On-Site

Writing Journal 9: Novella DONE, Scrivener, And An On-Site

My writing journal for Wednesday, August 20, 2014. You can find all the entries here.

Fiction and nonfiction: the novella is DONE!

DONE… Just 1,600 words — I added an epilogue. And  the third novella is done. Now some revision, and editing, and it’s off to the client.

I didn’t have time to create a MOBI file, that’s for tomorrow, when I’ll be starting the fourth novella in the series of five. I need to wrap up this series quickly. I’ve got a few more fiction commissions to fulfill, and then I can focus on my own fiction.

Before I started on the final scene, I had an idea for the book’s cover. The designer sent the PSD file, along with the cover, so it’s a simple matter to add the extra text to the cover. I send the client the image of the amended cover.

Tip: if you’re working with a cover designer: get the Photoshop (PSD) file. Then you can make any changes you like.

Next, nonfiction. The book’s humming along. Another 1200 words, with lots of “XXX” areas, as placeholders for research.

I’ll be out most of today, working on-site with a client. So, I need to get the email backlog out of the way next.

Scrivener questions: is it “worth it?”

I’ve mentioned Scrivener, and received a couple of messages asking whether Scrivener is “worth it”.

I’m a huge Scrivener fan. I started using Scrivener in around 2006, with the beta versions.

In 2005, I switched from Windows to Mac, even thought I was still contributing to PC magazines. I dithered for months, worrying about this decision. Could I still write for PC magazines when I became a “Mac person”? (Snicker. All the dithering I did back them seems silly now.)

My intuition kept prodding me to make the switch, so finally I did, and it was the best decision I’ve ever made. Mac programs like RapidWeaver, Curio and Scrivener made me not only more productive, but more creative too.

They’ve also made writing a joy, and I don’t say this lightly. So I make no apologies for being a Scrivener enthusiast. :-)

YES, Scrivener is worth it — a thousand times over. It takes time to learn, but not long, considering how powerful the program is. Once you understand the basics, which won’t take you longer than it takes to go through the Tutorial, you know enough to write with Scrivener. You’ll make many happy discoveries along your journey.

Join the Scrivener Community on Google+. Post any questions you have, the members are kind and generous, and only too pleased to help new Scrivener users.

One of the biggest benefits of Scrivener for me is that you can keep multiple books in a single Scrivener file. All the novellas for this client are in a single Scrivener file, for example.

Last year, I wrote three full-length mysteries for a client; they’re all in one file. This means that you can easily refer to other books as you write, to make sure you keep the characters straight. You can create front and back matter templates, and use them for each book.

And of course, if you want to edit a title at any time — to change the links to the other books in a series in the back matter, for example, you can do it simply. Make the changes, and compile to create a new MOBI or EPUB file, and upload it to Amazon, or wherever.

I hate searching for things and I can only imagine the chaos if I were to attempt to write a series of books for a client — or for myself — and had to keep everything organized without Scrivener.

Breakfast for Honey.

Then work on a couple of small copywriting projects for clients. One is a tagline. I write a list of questions to answer, so that I can start on the research.

The other copywriting project is a sales page, so I create an initial cluster diagram for that.

Breakfast for me, then I’m off to the on-site.

Late afternoon…

I’m back in the office. The on-site work was busy and fun, but we had a late meeting. Afterward, I had some errands to run, so I’m back late.

All the work I’d hoped to do this afternoon needs to be rescheduled. I make notes for Julia, so that she can do that.

A final pass to catch up with email, then it’s time for the daily review, and a look at my word counts.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

My Writing Journal 2: More Fiction, Nonfiction and Copywriting

My Writing Journal 2: More Fiction, Nonfiction and Copywriting

When you put your writing journal online, there’s a snag: blog post titles. I could try to glitz it up with themes, or a word of the day, but no. So, we’re numbering the entries. Simplest is best. :-)

5AM start: fiction, and nonfiction.

I’ve been asked about early starts. Try it. The key is to get out of bed immediately the alarm sounds. Don’t allow yourself to think about it. :-)

Coffee, and then writing.

I do the scene planning in my current historical romance novella that I didn’t get to last night, and then manage to write 1100 new words; most of a scene. I could press on, but I need a break, after two timer sessions, so I’ll aim for another session today.

Re the timing, my timer sessions vary, they’re 30 minutes on long projects, but can be as short as five minutes for phone calls. (Yes, I time phone calls. I’m CHATTY. I need to do it, or I’ll talk your ear off. :-))

After a short break, onward to the nonfiction book for a client.

I’m waiting for his review of earlier chapters, so I revised another couple of chapters, sent them off, and then wrote 550 new words in two timer sessions. The book’s almost done, just one more chapter to complete. I may do that chapter in a marathon session — I want to wrap things up, and I need to get started on a new project, for a new client.

Honey
A much younger Honey

Time for a short play session with Honey. The cold weather’s hard on her arthritis, but she’s happy anyway. She’s always happy, but she can’t express it by bouncing off the walls as she used to do. It’s always sad when dogs start to age. After a touch of the grooming brush, and massage session, she’s ready for her breakfast.

Keeping track.

A student asked about keeping track of your writing. How do you sort out what needs to be done, and keep track of deadlines? It can be a challenge. I’ve written many emails to students about organizing and managing their deadlines. I need to pull the best tips together, and write a full blog post about it. Basically, I use a modified Getting Things Done (GTD) system. If you’re not familiar, here’s an excellent summary of GTD.

Essential: the INBOX. I use paper notebooks, index cards, and large A5 artists’ pads to plan and THINK. Thinking/ planning  is done  on paper, writing on the computer. My Inbox is my default folder in Evernote. All paper gets photographed into that folder, and I review it once each day, and then more thoroughly once a week.

Email again… 

Julia, my wonderful assistant, handles most of the email tsunami for me, otherwise I’d never get anything else done. After feeding Honey, I pour myself another cup of coffee, and get stuck into email, mostly client quotes, and giving feedback to students. I love writing with students. It’s immensely satisfying when students start to believe in themselves, in their writing, and in their future.

I check my calendar for clients with whom I need to follow up; I add those to OmniFocus.

Planning: Leap Into Copywriting.

After handling email, and scheduling some phone calls, I move on to planning our new copywriting training. I love copywriting. It’s huge fun, because every project is different. You can write 500 sales letters, but each one will be different from the others.

Although we have several copywriting courses, Leap Into Copywriting is new and emphasizes copywriting practice with lots of exercises and feedback. It’s for beginning copywriters, to get them started off right. Rather than lots of theory, students will “leap” into it, writing copy immediately. They’ll receive video trainings over three weeks. They have exercises to complete, and receive feedback on them. Everyone’s busy, so students will only need 30 minutes a day for the training.

No errands today, so breakfast, and a quick walk.

Ghostwriting videos.

Many more clients are asking for videos these days, both scripts, and tutorial videos. I’ve just been commissioned by a couple of new podcasting clients, and I’m looking forward to working with them.

Before I get started on new work, I need to finish yesterday’s copywriting projects — the ads, and the writer’s bio. I set the timer, and dive in.

A working lunch: email and blog reading.

I don’t work during lunch every day, but I have so much on my plate (pun intended) today that I can’t spare the time to lunch with a friend. It’s just me, and some pasta left over from last night. And a salad. Then, because I need to psych myself up, a slim sliver of chocolate cake. I tend to indulge myself over winter. :-)

Copywriting: a video script…

Another cup of coffee. I set the timer, then write down some questions. Questions are key to effective research: make a list of questions, get the answers, and you’re done. If you love research, questions prevent you from turning research into an all-day event.

I research the product and the client’s audience, and answer the questions.

Here’s my “speed copy” writing process: research, cluster diagram, summary, write a draft of the copy. I covered that process in an audio in Copywriting You Can Do.

It’s the same process for all copy, including video scripts. However, when I create a script, I create a presentation too; the video producer can storyboard the video from that.

After a couple of hours, I’ve got a a very rough first draft.

4 PM. Time for a long break to relax and clear my mind. Got lots done, so it’s deserved. :-)

9PM. Back from dinner out. A quick daily review to check up on deadlines. Everything’s on track, thank heavens. My word counts for the day are fine. Time for some recreational reading. :-)

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

My Writing Journal: Fiction, Nonfiction, Copywriting

My Writing Journal: Fiction, Nonfiction, Copywriting

Here we go with the first day of my writing journal – I hope it inspires you to buckle down and write. Why a journal? Explanation here.

A 5 AM Start, With Fiction.

Out of bed, without hitting the snooze button. Snoozing the alarm is always a temptation, but when I do it means I start the day way behind, so I avoid it. Otherwise I feel pressured all day, and the extra few minutes of dozing aren’t worth it.

I let Honey, my Jack Russell terrier, out while the coffee’s brewing. I gulp coffee and jump right into my current fiction project. It’s a series of historical romance novellas, which I’m ghostwriting for a client. I’m on number three. The client’s thrilled with the first two. He originally commissioned three novellas, but has asked for two more.

So, now I have five to write. Luckily they’re huge fun. I’m halfway through the third, and they’re getting longer and longer. Oops… I need to rein it in, otherwise we’ll end up with two novellas and three novels.

At the end of an hour – two timer sessions – I’ve written 1,200 words, which is enough for today. I need to plan the next couple of scenes; I’ll do that late tonight, or first thing tomorrow.

Fueled by coffee, I feed Honey, and carry on with a nonfiction book, also for a client, for another two timer sessions. Only 500 words of new material, but I’ll take it. I went back to revise a couple of chapters, and exported them to Word from Scrivener, ready to send to the client.

As a reward for my early-morning productivity, I get to read email messages. I answer questions and send feedback on exercises to writing students. I also send a quote to a client. Time flies by, and it’s almost nine o’clock. Time for breakfast, then out to run some errands.

Writing in the Library, and Then Lunch.

I need to return some library books, so I decide to spend an hour writing in the library. Not only is the library peaceful; I enjoy writing there. I outline a couple of new projects in Evernote, then write 700 words of draft blog posts.

After a quick lunch with a friend to discuss a writing project, it’s back to the office.

Afternoon: Reading, Research, and Client Projects.

Chat to Julia. Then more coffee, and more email: quotes for clients, and feedback for students. Then onto the phone, to return some calls.

Time to relax for an hour. Unless I’m traveling, or working on-site, or at meetings, I use afternoons to catch my breath, and work on short projects. I’m most productive in the mornings, and I’m pleased with this morning’s effort, so I allow myself some reading time. I open my ReadKit newsreader. I browse some blogs, make some notes.

Next, I need to do some research for a couple of copywriting projects. I make notes, and do a couple of mind map diagrams, then draft the ads. I call the graphic designer. He uploads a composite for me.

More copywriting. I work on a writer’s bio for an hour, and send him a draft. (More on writer’s bios below.)

Time for a walk. Alone, sadly. Honey’s aging. She rarely walks with me when it’s cold. I take my phone, so I can make some audio notes in Evernote.

Back again. More phone calls. And the day’s done. I’ll review the day’s word counts later.

Daily Review and Word Counts.

After dinner, it’s time for a review of current projects. Everything is on track. However, I’ve put off some administrative stuff I need to do, and I didn’t get around to working on new materials for a writing class.

I check my word counts for the day, and enter them into my log. I’m not in the mood to think about fiction, so I’ll do the scene planning tomorrow.

Writer’s Bios Closed for New Bookings This Year.

I enjoy writing bios, but it takes time, around three to four hours each, at least. We ran an offering on writer’s bios and had lots of bookings, so they’re closed for the rest of the year. Here are some tips on writing a quick bio if you need to write one.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

3 Essential Copywriting Secrets for Today’s World

3 Essential Copywriting Secrets for Today’s World

Copywriting – writing to sell – is in many ways much easier than it used to be, it’s also harder, in today’s busy world. Back in day, you could write catalogue copy, or a brochure, and call it done. Today, both your catalogue copy and brochure-like websites need to be tagged with meta data, and supported with social media marketing.

Let’s look at three essential copywriting secrets for today’s busy and fragmented audiences.

1. Emotion First – THEN Make Them Think.

Arouse emotion in your audience first, THEN make them think. The old copywriting formula, AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) is based on emotion. Emotion not only grabs attention, but it also inspires action. AIDA is useless without emotion.

The easiest way to arouse an emotion is via visuals. A recent post on visual content on the Buffer blog made this point:

The brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than it does text. We are wired to take in visual content faster and more effectively than we are words. Ninety percent of the information sent to our brains is visual; we’ve been trained to consume visual content as quickly as we can.

Bigger is better with visuals – viz print magazines and social media – for two reasons: emotion, and memory.

I’m a writer, so I’m heavily focused on words, but visuals allow you to arouse emotions faster in your audience, and get them to remember more. Here’s an interesting PDF from hp on the power of visual communication.

Copywriting is persuasion, and there’s no persuasion without emotion.

2. What’s the Big Idea?

Every copywriting project depends on the power of a big idea, such as the idea (and the emotion) behind David Ogilvy’s classic Rolls Royce ad.

Your big idea is the message. You’ll leverage your message with content, so the more you consider your message, and its implications, the easier it will be to leverage.

Politicians know the persuasive power of repetition. They stay on message. You may repeat words in your copy, however, beyond words, focus on the emotion, and your big idea.

3. Leverage Your Message With Content.

Copywriting isn’t just advertising in today’s world.

From The art of adverts: How social media is changing the way companies speak to consumers:

“The guys get together in the morning and say, ‘what’s happening, what’s in the news and in the online space’,” he says. “It might be something relevant to one of our brands and we need to come up with an idea and get it out there in a short space of time.”

Today, your copy needs to be leveraged with content, in any way you can manage it.

You’re running a small business; you don’t have an advertising agency to do your social media for you. Indeed, social media can seem like a nuisance. At best, it’s an afterthought.

What if you switched that around, and made social media the focus of your advertising? Start paying more attention to social media. You may find that social media not only enhances what you spend on advertising, but helps you to spend less.

As John Wanamaker said: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

In summary, consider emotion first, then focus on your big idea, and leverage it with content. These copywriting secrets are essential today.

Enjoy Writing? Imagine Starting and Running Your Own Highly Successful Copywriting Business.

Copywriting Business: Master Class

You can earn while you learn to write copy in ten weeks. Join us in the Copywriting Master Class.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

3 Ways Copywriting Skills Can Help Your Sales

Can Copywriting Skills Improve Your Sales?

How many sales are you missing out on today? If you’re a small business person, chances are you’re not communicating as much as you could. You need copywriting skills. Not only will you communicate more clearly, you’ll communicate more. Just about every business has a mailing list; few businesses do anything with the list.

Let’s look at three ways you can use copywriting skills to help your sales.

1. You Can Grab Those Sales You’re Missing.

We mentioned your mailing list. Today, send out an email message to your list. Tell the people who want to hear from you about a new promotion you’re running. You can tell them anything you like; as long as you communicate.

Again: your customers want to hear from you, otherwise you wouldn’t have their email address. Send something.

2. You Can Create Fresh Copy to Win YOUR Customers.

If you’re using your suppliers’ copy, you’re missing out on sales. When you use the same copy all the other distributors are using, your customers are buying from the business which sells the products the cheapest.

You know your products, and you know your customers. Tell your customers stories about how other customers in their area use the products. Give them a reason to buy from you.

3. You Can Make the Most of Social Media: Have You Discovered Pinterest?

Social media isn’t sales. A copywriter’s mindset will stand you in good stead however. Pinterest makes sales, for example:

Yet another study, this one by Shopify, found that orders driven by Pinterest are substantially larger than those produced by Facebook or Twitter. In fact, at $80 per order, Pinterest even tops Google and Amazon.

Dip your toes into social media today; copywriting skills give you the confidence you need.

Check out our Copywriting Master Class, if you haven’t done so already.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.