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Posts Tagged ‘copywriting’

  1. How Will You Spend Your Time This Year?

    January 29, 2017 by Diane

    Two coffee cups

    So, Diane. Here we are. A brand new year.


    Well, 2017 for me.

    You’re absolutely right.

    Tell me something good. Tell me I get more than one copywriting client.

    You get more than one copywriting client.

    YES! I knew I could do it! It’s the one-task-a-day routine. It’s working!

    It’s working.

    Did I give up the blog once and for all?

    What do you think?

    I think I’m having too much fun blogging. Jumping in mud puddles. When the puddles dry up or it’s no longer fun, I’ll stop. Do I have more than sixty-eight subscribers?

    You have more than sixty-eight subscribers.

    And I stopped watching The Bachelor. Tell me I stopped watching The Bachelor.

    Can you look me in the eye and honestly say you’ve stopped watching The Bachelor?

    Well, no. But I don’t turn it on until I’ve completed my copywriting task for the day.

    This is true. You even missed episodes, for that very reason.

    Thank GOD! And the short story? Did I send it out?

    You sent it out.

    Did it get published? Tell me it got published.

    We’re not here to talk about the short story.

    The novel? Did I rewrite the novel?

    About the novel—

    It was the logline. That’s what held everything up, back in 2016. You should talk to Holcomb about that. She blabbed on the blog about how to rewrite a novel. She got as far as step four: the logline. And that was it. Oh, she tried to convince herself that she’d chosen an acceptable logline, that she was ready to move on, but did she? Was there ever a step five? NO.

    2016 is over. We don’t need to revisit it.

    Oh, yeah. You’re right. Phfft! It’s gone. So, what about the novel?

    Overwhelmed. Sound familiar?

    I’ll say. It was Holcomb’s most-used word in 2016. I’m still overwhelmed.

    Watch out for that.

    What are you saying?

    You need to respect boundaries. The ones you decided to set. Like not blogging at midnight.

    Oh. Is that what time it is?

    Yes. The key is to focus on one thing at a time. One thing.

    And what is that one thing?

    You’ll know.

    Copywriting! That’s why I have more than one client. Or is it something else? Oh, I’ve got it. I finally pitch that reality show concept, the one the networks will be fighting over.


    Or I dig out that radio script and send it to NPR. You remember—The Family Nude Show.

    I do.

    The game show where families play…in the nude.

    I remember.

    Because who’s going to know if the contestants are nude? It’s radio, fer cryin’ out loud!

    Diane, Diane! National Public Radio is not going to air The Family Nude Show.

    Oh. Well. You really know how to burst a girl’s bubble.

    I’m sorry.

    So what is the one thing? Do I publish The Best of Squirrels in the Doohickey? No, wait. I’ll bet I submit all those writing tips to magazines. Or I finally rewrite the ding-dang-darn novel once and for all. Is that it? Is it the novel?

    You’ll know.

    Oh, please, please, please tell me.

    See you in 2018.

  2. How Did You Spend Your Time Last Year?

    January 22, 2017 by Diane

    Two coffee cups
    So, Holcomb, here we are.


    A brand new year.


    For you. For me, it’s 2017. But you knew that. You’re a smarty.

    High praise, coming from you. I mean, from me. In the future. So, how’s the outlook?

    Well, a year ago you were dickering with that short story. Rewriting it.


    Still dickering.

    Oh, no.

    Oh, yes. A year ago, you were spreading it around you’re rewriting that novel.

    I’m planning to blog about it! I’m going to declare my commitment, to all thirty-eight of my followers!

    Sixty-eight now. And you dropped the commitment.

    Yow. Scary word, commitment.

    You’re good at making excuses, too. That copywriting business you started? The one puttering along with one client?

    One GREAT client. He keeps me hopping year-round. He wants me for the whole next season, too.

    Agreed. A great client. But your plan is to get more than one client.

    One GREAT client.

    The plan is to beef up your clientele.


    You’ve still got the one.

    No networking?


    No notifying my LinkedIn contacts?


    No cold-calling, cold-emailing, making a list of places to contact?


    What the hell have you been doing for a year!?

    Not me, YOU.

    Me? I haven’t even begun. You’ve already been. What the hell took up all of your time?

    YOUR time. The Bachelor.


    The Bachelor. That stupid reality show. On Monday nights. The one that highlights women in their worst possible behavior.

    Oh, that. But it’s only on for a season, right?

    Then The Voice.

    Okay, so there goes Monday nights. What about the rest of the week? Surely I did something the rest of the week.

    The Voice was on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, too.

    Listen, you. I’m not letting you hijack my dreams with your stupid reality shows.

    YOUR stupid reality shows. YOU’RE the one choosing to watch them, escaping your own reality. I’m in 2017, remember? Hello! The view’s swell from here. And I’m finishing up the short story.

    No more dickering?

    One last dicker. That’s it. I’m sending it off to journals.

    And the novel?

    It’s either the novel or the blog. I haven’t decided which one gets my attention.

    And the copywriting? Please tell me you’re not shelving the copywriting business.

    Nope. Actually, I had a brilliant insight: If I want to be a successful copywriter, I need to act like one. So I’m putting on my copywriting hat, I’m rolling up my sleeves, I’m snapping on my suspenders. And I’m asking myself: Do copywriters watch The Bachelor? No. Do copywriters futz around on Twitter? No. Not unless they’ve finished their work for the day. Do copywriters blog about rewriting a novel rather than rewriting it? Not likely. Now, every day (except Sundays, when I rest), I’m doing one task on my list of tasks to do to be a legitimate copywriter. I’m already writing a marketing plan. I’m scouting around for networking groups. I’m applying for that Tax ID number. I’m…well, you get the picture. So you know what that means, Holcomb. You’ve got one year to get The Bachelor and The Voice and Twitter and the blog and anything else you’re distracting yourself with, out of your system.


    Got it?


    Ah, cheer up. The year isn’t a complete loss. You do get a business license and business cards. You find mentors. You become a founding member of the Jerry Jenkins Writer’s Guild.


    And you win The Liebster Award for blogging.

    The what?

    And you manage to write some decent blog posts.


    You’ll find out.

    Ah, c’mon. Give me a hint.

    See you in 2017.


  3. You Don’t Need A Lack of Funds to Be A Starving Artist

    July 13, 2015 by Diane

    hand opening red curtain on white.

    At some point, behind the writer’s curtain, you’ll hear a conversation that goes something like this…

    How’s that novel coming?


    Uh-oh. What now.

    You know that whole starving artist bit? Well, it was getting old. I needed to make more money. But I refused to make it behind someone else’s desk. I wanted to earn money behind my own desk. Writing copy. Brochures. Direct mail. Press releases. Anything. I’m a writer, right?

    I thought you wrote fiction.

    But I couldn’t make money writing fiction. At least not on the quick. So I waited for some guidance. A sign. A nudge in some direction.


    Nothing. Not a peep. So I figured: what the heck, I’ll try copywriting. Best way to make money as a writer, right?

    Go on.

    So I checked out books on how to start a copywriting business. I picked the brain of a successful copywriter. I gathered brochures and saved those donation letters that come in the mail and dug out some old newsletter copy I’d written for a non-profit and handed out my card prematurely and the person I handed it to actually contacted me and asked for some samples and I dashed some off roughshod and emailed them and I didn’t hold my breath. I watched television. I took long walks in the woods. I stopped writing. Went back to waiting for a sign. A peep.

    And your fiction? What about your fiction writing? What about that eight-week intensive workshop you took?

    I’m getting to that.

    Five hundred dollars it cost. And the teacher said…what did he say? Something about how he could read your writing for a long, long time.

    I know. I know! Don’t remind me.

    But go on.

    So where was I? Oh yeah. I started blogging. An entry a week.

    You stopped sleeping.

    I know! Something kept me from sleep.

    And you lost weight.

    Ninety-eight pounds was all I weighed. Ninety-eight pounds. My pants slid down without hips to hold them up.

    But still you waited for a sign.

    I was boiling with frustration. I stormed into the library, to the eight hundred section, skimmed the meager selection for books on how to write a pitch.

    For that reality show concept?

    Yes. And I slid my fingertips over the spines of the fiction-writing books and my fingers tingled. Was that a sign? No, I told myself. I took a book home about television writing because it had a chapter about pitching a show, and instead of reading about how to pitch a show, I read the novel that my father sent me, Beautiful Ruins. And it blew my mind. The writing. The voices. Each chapter a story of its own. And somehow they all fit together. How? What was the author doing? I wanted to create that. I wanted to get it. I wanted it so bad it made my heart race.

    That was your sign.


    But you ignored it.

    I started a copywriting business. Now I’m making money as a writer. Which is what I wanted, right?

    And that novel you were working on?

    No time for that.


    I feel untethered.

    Another sign.


    Takeaways this week:

    One of my concerns, starting out as a copywriter, was how to find the time to devote to my fiction. So I asked Peter Bowerman, a top copywriter, how he managed. His response? A sigh. This author of The Well-Fed Writer said he had no time for his “soul food.” Well, I decided that wouldn’t be my road. But venturing out, I found myself on that very same path, ignoring the hunger pangs.

    Sometimes we need to make sacrifices to keep the wolf from the door. But beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing who takes his place. Oh, sure, we manage to avoid becoming the proverbial starving artist. But we find ourselves starving in other ways. What can we do? We’ve already given up television, maybe exercise and socializing. What else is there? We can’t sacrifice family, or sleep, or eating, or downtime, in order to write a novel that may or may not ever see the light of publication. The good news is, we don’t need to give up one thing for another. Instead: borrow. Ten minutes from family time. Fifteen minutes from sleep. Five from downtime. Total them up. You’ve now got thirty minutes to focus on what really feeds you. Need more time? Borrow more.

    And then honor those precious borrowed moments by writing whatever it is you’re meant to write. Make it a priority.

    The signs are there. Be aware.