Rolls of toilet paper, side on

Copywriting tip 14: Verbal diarrhoea

Toilet rolls from the side on

If you’ve been following my one-tip-a-day, you’ll notice we’re about half way through.

(I was always good at maths …)

I’ve written about the importance of the brief. Doing your homework. Getting passionate, finding the right tone of voice. Ideation.

Now, half way through, we’re ready to start talking about the actual writing.

And half way is about right.

Paul Jones from Magneto has a wonderful writing process he calls ‘POW’.

POW stands for Prepare Organise Write.

Prepare: think about and research your audience. How can I tailor the message to them?

Organise: am I selling, or telling? What information do I need to put first? How do I structure the copy?

Write: the actual writing process.


But what really interests me is the percentage of time you should spend on each.

According to Paul, the amount of time you should spend is: 30% on the prep. 20% on the organising. And 50% on the writing.

In other words, you’re only actually writing for 50% of the time.

Allowed an hour to write? Don’t put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) for 30 minutes.

Isn’t that great?

So, here we are. Half way. Time to write.

A great quote from author and renowned wit James Thurber:

Don’t get it right,
Just get it written.

Spot on.

In other words, start the writing process by pouring your heart out. What I call verbal diarrhoea.

Get your thoughts out of your head and onto the page. Write and type like crazy.

Don’t edit as you go. That’s really important – no quality control at this stage.

Don’t worry about the number of words.

Got room for 30 words? Write 3,000.

Keep writing until you’ve run out of things to say.

Then stop.

Yes, it’ll be a mess.

No, it won’t make a lot of sense.

But you’ll have broken that fear for most of us: writer’s block.

You won’t be looking at a blinking cursor and a blank page.

You’ve got something you can now finesse.

And that’s our next set of tips: the craft of copywriting.


This tip is based on my 30 Tips in 40 Minutes webinar.

Feel free to download a version of the slides and watch a video of the one-hour webinar.

Image source: Pixabay


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Jon Maxim

Jon is a multi-award winning copywriter. For over 30 years, he’s helped clients – large and small – develop engaging concepts, content and copy. For 25 of those years, he’s been teaching people how to do it themselves. His courses on copywriting, ideation and presentation skills are highly sought-after and highly effective. Jon lives in Sydney, Australia: but is often found on a plane, heading to where he’s most needed.