How to remain sane as a copywriter ...

by Raydal 14 replies
Have you ever given blood?

Well, writing sales letters all day is just that—giving a part of
yourself to another human being, all in the name of persuasion.

When I’ve completed a sales letter, I can feel a part of my soul
leaving with that email saying, “Your letter is now completed.”
And I know I only have so much of my ‘soul’ to give before I
would need to be refilled.

As a copywriter I’ve seen how my mental health and well being
affects conversions. Yes, if I’m in a bad mood or depressed when
I’m writing copy, then it always shows in the final results.
That’s why it’s so important for copywriters to find ways to
refresh their souls and know how to manage daily stresses.

Copywriting is a mentally taxing job and you cannot keep giving
without getting. (This applies to more than your fees.) Here are
some ways I try to stay healthy, motivated and alert for each new
assignment.

1. I eat simple foods. ‘Simple’ here means as natural as
possible. So for breakfast I use oatmeal (baked as granola) with
raisins, pecans and almonds. Some soymilk top off that daily
manna. The so-called junk foods are full of flavors but lack
nutritional value. My best advice: stay away!

2. I exercise regularly. In the Florida heat there’s no better
way to exercise than swimming. So for at least 30 minutes, 6 days
per week I’ll swim after a hard day. I also find that this
improves my sleep as well. Which brings me to the next point.

3. Get at least 7-8 hours of sleep nightly. I try to go to sleep
before midnight and get at least 7 hours of solid rest. No
stimulants, such as the popular caffeine, go in this body. Those
who use coffee to wake them are only borrowing from future
deposits that wouldn’t be available when they really need it. So
I’ve NEVER had a cup of coffee in my life! (I know, hard to
imagine!)

4. Take time for yourself. Some may call this meditation,
relaxation or whatever name you attach to it—you need time to
hear yourself think. As I like to tell my wife, even diesel
trucks break down and so would any human body that doesn’t rest.
So listen to some music, a babbling brook, the song of the birds
… waste some time.

5. Spend time with the family or significant others. No one ever
regretted that they spent too much time with their families, but
they do about long hours at the office. Ask yourself, “What am I
working for in the first place?”

6. Stop watching the nightly news! The news is made up of 30
minutes of all that’s wrong in the world. Who needs that kind of
mental diet? Try fasting from the news for at least 30 days and see
what difference this makes in your outlook on life.

7. Contribute to a cause higher than yourself. My basic worldview
is shaped by a Judeo-Christian philosophy, so I see myself as
part of a higher cause and responsible to my fellow earthly
inhabitants. If you work just to fill your coffers you’ll soon
find your coffers full and your soul empty.

I’ve lived long enough to know that my personal happiness is 1%
what happens to me and 99% of my attitude about what happens to
me. Therefore, I try and cultivate a positive spirit. And anytime
I want to complain about how the whole world has turned against
me, I watch a holocaust documentary and suddenly realize I’m
among the most blessed people on earth.

Talk about an attitude adjuster!

-Ray Edwards
#copywriting #copywriter #remain #sane
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  • Profile picture of the author Dean Dhuli
    Nice post, Ray!

    I've been through a burnout very recently, so I know
    how it feels.

    The copywriting process... it has the power to turn
    people nuts.

    Every time I finish a letter, I think "thank god, it's over!"
    But just a couple of days later, I get back to writing copy
    again.

    It's the same with any copywriter I guess. After all, this is
    what we do.

    The important thing of course is to take a break. Take
    your mind off copywriting regularly.

    I believe I spent too much time writing copy, took up
    more work than I could handle. And that was the reason
    for the burnout.

    But I've taken a month long break from copywriting and
    I feel much better and rejuvenated now.

    And guess what?

    Even when I was on leave, I kept getting royalties
    from my clients. So it was actually like a paid leave
    for me.

    I'd love to go on more of these paid leaves.

    What about you?


    Take care,

    Dean.
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  • Profile picture of the author BrianMcLeod
    Originally Posted by Raydal View Post

    I’ve lived long enough to know that my personal happiness is 1% what happens to me and 99% of my attitude about what happens to me.
    Poignant post, Ray... and a timely reminder for me to jump in my pool this afternoon and float a little (my favorite decompression method).

    I like to float on my back with my feet resting on a "noodle" (those little 99¢ foam tubes). I let my ears submerge so I'm "hearing" only my internal breathing and the sounds of the water.

    I control my buoyancy with my breathing. A deep breathe through the nose fills your lungs with air and you rise up out of the water. A slow exhale through the mouth and you slowly sink lower, but before you lose your horizontal position or drop under the water, another deep inhalation rises you back up.

    You'll be very conscious of it at first, but you quickly fall into a rhythm and the mind starts to quiet and travel elsewhere. HEAVEN.

    I have a 9 year old son, so quiet "floating time" comes at a real premium around here. If Dad is in the pool, that usually means WOOHOO!

    Best,

    Brian
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    • Profile picture of the author Raydal
      Originally Posted by BrianMcLeod View Post

      Poignant post, Ray... and a timely reminder for me to jump in my pool this afternoon and float a little (my favorite decompression method).

      I like to float on my back with my feet resting on a "noodle" (those little 99¢ foam tubes). I let my ears submerge so I'm "hearing" only my internal breathing and the sounds of the water.

      Best,

      Brian
      I've seen those noodles at WalMart and have been meaning to buy
      a few. Now I have to try your relaxation method so I have to get them
      next time.

      Thanks for that technique!

      -Ray Edwards
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  • Profile picture of the author green1
    Funny, I was told that if you're sane, you'll never make it as a copywriter...
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  • Profile picture of the author Kevin Lam
    Raydal,

    Thanks for posting that. It reaffirms that I'm headed in the right direction. It actually took quite a while before my wife and I came down to a regular schedule. I use to stay up late at night working just because I could, but I soon realize it was hard on my marriage.

    Taking time to go to bed at night with the wife really helps make life easier. I now get up at 5:30 in the morning to start my day and in bed by 10PM... unless I'm running behind from the unexpected daily grind. I find it even more important not to over-work myself.

    If I do that all other client work gets sluggish and I just fall behind more and more. Taking enough time for a break for food, adult conversations, playing with my little girl and enjoying a little T.V. (Psych, Monk, Reba and Ghost Adventures, lol) really helps me relax and re-charge for the next session.

    However, I wish you had posted this like last year!
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    • Profile picture of the author MikeHumphreys
      Nice topic Ray.

      I've found that not working 7 days per week was a huge step towards decompressing as a copywriter. As a former burnt-out 120 hour week workaholic, that was a big step for me.

      In fact, when my wife and I were just starting dating, I made a deal with her that we still honor: I work whatever hours I need to Mon-Sat.... but Sundays are her day to plan our schedule however she sees fit. That was a big concession for me 7 years ago and one that I'm really happy I made.

      I make it a point to spend time one-on-one with each one of my kids each day and with my wife. It helps me reconnect with them and remember they are the reason why I work as hard as I do.

      Each day, I try to take 20-30 minutes before calling it a night to do something fun for me. Some weeks it's not possible b/c of tight deadlines or other business stressors so I make it a point to take Sunday nights after the rest of the family has gone to bed to do "me time".

      Usually it's a computer game like Baseball Mogul 2010 or Front Office Football (love those run a pro sports team sims)... sometimes it's watching some guy TV. Should have listened to Kevin Lam as I watched the movie Watchmen on this past Sunday and it was lousy. I figured if it has Carla Gugino in it who I think is a beautiful actress, it couldn't be all bad, right? Well... I was wrong. The movie was b-o-r-i-n-g.

      Now that it's football season... well, my family joins me in rooting for my favorite NFL team each week, the Pittsburgh Steelers (been a fan for over 30 years).

      In about a month, I'll back in the gym lifting weights and doing cardio again. I'm thinking about picking martial arts back up again sometime in 2010... it's a tremendous workout but the mental & emotional benefits you gain are immeasurable.
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      • Profile picture of the author barbling
        Giving yourself permission to take OFF time from work and spend it on matters that are really important (spouse time, kids time, exercise time) is CRITICAL to keeping your batteries active and recharged!

        I've been making my living online now for so long that my body automatically tells me when it's time to step away from the computer and savor the beauties of life.

        What's really funny is when that happens, my brain shuts down regarding online work...and so I'm not capable of forcing myself anyway! So I just listen to what I need, rest and then regroup.

        It does wonders.
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      • Profile picture of the author Daniel Scott
        Originally Posted by MikeHumphreys View Post

        Should have listened to Kevin Lam as I watched the movie Watchmen on this past Sunday and it was lousy. I figured if it has Carla Gugino in it who I think is a beautiful actress, it couldn't be all bad, right? Well... I was wrong. The movie was b-o-r-i-n-g.
        Mike,

        You need to read the graphic novel... it is unbelievably good.

        Once you've read that... then you'll probably quite like the movie (except the crappy ending and the terrible portrayal of Adrian Veidt).

        There are a LOT of subtleties in the comic the film doesn't cover... and once you understand them... the film simply allows you to see Rorschach kick ass in glorious full motion.

        -Dan
        Signature

        Always looking for badass direct-response copywriters. PM me if we don't know each other and you're looking for work.

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  • Profile picture of the author Ajeet
    Wow Man! Copywriting is like bloodletting. I recommend that you do not do too much of it. When I was in your situation, the first thing I did was to stop offering services, i.e. writing for others. Instead, I started developing my own sites.
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    • Profile picture of the author BrianMcLeod
      Originally Posted by Ajeet View Post

      Wow Man! Copywriting is like bloodletting. I recommend that you do not do too much of it. When I was in your situation, the first thing I did was to stop offering services, i.e. writing for others. Instead, I started developing my own sites.
      This post spells FAIL.
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      • Profile picture of the author Ross Bowring
        Brian, those noodles you speak of are fantastic inventions.

        I went in the pool the other day for the first time in about 10 years... and those noodles saved my bacon because I'm the world's weakest swimmer. Just don't tell no-one else.

        Otherwise, to stay sane I play soccer... watch a lot of movies... a lot of TV... read a lot of non-fiction books from any part of the bookstore. Even though I don't read much fiction, the last novel I read was amazing... the Kite Runner. Crazy good story.

        I also juggle... clubs... balls... but not fire. We live in a converted barn so not a hot idea.

        I also like watching cheesy clips from British reality shows on YouTube. But don't get me wrong, this is 100% about YOU, and how you can blast through the...

        O.k, maybe I do spend too much time writing.
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        • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
          But I've taken a month long break from copywriting and
          I feel much better and rejuvenated now.

          And guess what?

          Even when I was on leave, I kept getting royalties
          from my clients. So it was actually like a paid leave
          for me.

          I'd love to go on more of these paid leaves.

          What about you?
          Dean,

          That's why I developed my home study courses.

          In the last two years, my husband and I took two long trips - a 2 1/2 month driving trip to Alaska and back (from Massachusetts!) and a 1 month trip to Hawaii. During those trips, I did NO client work, but sufficient income continued from my infoproducts to pay for the trips plus all expenses back home.

          Very sweet.

          Marcia Yudkin
          Signature
          Check out Marcia Yudkin's No-Hype Marketing Academy for courses on copywriting, publicity, infomarketing, marketing plans, naming, and branding - not to mention the popular "Marketing for Introverts" course.
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  • I agree. There is more to life than copywriting. There is deep breathing, going out with friends, and getting away from your computer on occasion!
    Susan
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    Astounding Writing Coach
    Why do personal development, self-help, natural wellness and hypnosis small business owners regularly hire me for my engaging, intuitive, creative content writing skills? Because that's what I passionately do best.
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