Write drunk, edit sober

writing process anna hetzel columbus copywriter.jpg

If my clients ever saw the first draft of the work they contracted me for, they would swirl into a whole pile of doubt and worry.

"What am I going to say to my boss?"
"This doesn't even make sense!"
"Oh my goodness our product launch is going to tank."

Good thing they will never see that draft.

You've heard me talk about my copywriting process day in and day out, and close readers may remember that halfway through a project I have a check-in point.

I spend quite a lot of time on the outline of the copy, adding notes and comments explaining strategy and really thinking about structure and copy hierarchy.

I do all this work so I can brain dump a rough draft without major hang-ups. 
With the outline on one screen and a blank page on the other, I write stream of consciousness.

Typically, the first draft is about 1,000 words longer than it should be/will be. It's usually disjointed, flip-flops between tenses and subjects, and flaunts basic grammar rules.

The catch: somewhere in that controlled brain dump are the golden pieces that will make the website or email sequence really shine.

A college professor of mine loved quoting Ernest Hemingway's maxim of "Write drunk, edit sober."

Now I'm not saying that I take a swig of whiskey before getting to work, but the basic idea of the saying holds true.

Here we go

Here we go

If you write without fear of failure, your writing comes more easily and is given the freedom to be bolder.

The more you have to work with while editing, the better the ultimate result.

I've baked this philosophy into my entire process.

How I get from a brain dump of terrible copy to a streamlined email sequence or website is where my art really comes in.

For the next few weeks, I'll be doing a series breaking down my editing process.

So sober up and let's get to work.

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