By: Ron Balagot
You may not have heard of the late Eugene (Gene) Schwartz, but he’s considered one of the greatest copywriters who ever lived.
(By the way, Webster’s New World Dictionary defines a copywriter as: A writer of copy for advertisements or promotional material. And copy, according to the same dictionary, means: The words of an advertisement, as distinct from the layout, pictures, music, etc.)
The truth is, with a single sales letter, he helped build Boardroom, Inc. to a $50 million a year direct mail publishing company. (You’d be surprised to know that Boardroom’s owner, Martin Edelston, only had $3,500 left in his pocket when he asked for Gene’s help.)
Yes, he was that good.
In fact, he was such a good copywriter that he became one of advertising’s highest paid consultants. (Rodale Press, another publishing giant, once paid him a commission of $54,000 for 4 hours of work. That’s $13,500 an hour.)
Furthermore, he authored a book called Breakthrough Advertising...which many copywriters/marketers consider a marketing classic. (Believe it or not, one reader from the financial industry is said to have raised his net worth from $100,000 to $10 million within a year of obtaining the book.)
And the list goes on.
But what’s most impressive about Gene is the fact that he had an amazing 85% hit ratio when it came to writing advertising copy. Meaning, out of every 100 ads he wrote, 85 were winners (which is quite an achievement in the direct marketing industry).
Now, would you like to know what helped him create those winners?
Would you like to know what one of his biggest secrets was to writing winning advertising copy?
Well, what he would do is this...
During his writing sessions, he would set a timer for 33.33 minutes...and when the timer went off, he’d take a 5 minute break. Then after the 5 minutes, he’d get back to work. (Basically, he’d go through this routine throughout his writing sessions.)
Why did he do this?
According to Gene, people can’t work for a very long period of time without interruption. Plus, when they do work for long periods, they end up exhausting themselves too quickly (mentally, that is).
This 33.33 minute routine not only helps keep the mind fresh, it gives inspiration a chance to sneak in.
And you know what else is interesting?
Gene never experienced writer’s block (something many writers have problems with). In fact, he was able to create 12 to 15 mailing pieces a year...without having any trouble starting on them. (And he only worked 3 to 4 hours a day.)
Now, can you see how this could be helpful in your songwriting?
I mean, if this technique could help improve your creativity (and productivity) in a big way, wouldn’t you agree that there’s a bigger chance you’ll end up with better songs? Winning songs? The way Gene ended up with winning advertising copy?
I’m pretty sure you’d say yes.
Actually, at first, I never really thought about the different benefits of this idea. But after a short while, not only did I notice a dramatic improvement in my creativity and productivity, I also experienced fewer neck/back pains...and less eye strain (the frequent rest periods helped a lot).
Of course, you don’t need to set the timer for exactly 33.33 minutes (I actually set mine for 30). But something close to those numbers would probably be a good idea.
The point is: You want to give some time to your “subconscious mind” to work on what you were writing. (In other words, you want to keep your “conscious” mind focused on things other than what you were working on...so it will not interfere in the creative process.) And the best way to do this is to take a break and do something else.
Here, consider these related quotes:
So what you do is you take your conscious mind and you focus it on making a new cup of coffee. That holds it there, and then ideas can kind of bleed into the back of your mind and come into the front of your mind.
My greatest inspirations or creations come when I’m shaving.
Remember that creativity is what happens between your thoughts.
Michael Ray, Stanford Business School professor and author of The Highest Goal
(Tip: I highly recommend that you use this technique in conjunction with the one I talked about in my earlier article, Write Songs Like The Pros With This Powerful And Proven Technique. I found that when I combined the two, I got maximum results.)
Well, now that you’ve learned how this technique can help you write winning songs, go ahead and give it a try.
You’ll be amazed with the results.