When Good Writers Have Bad Days

There is a lot of hype in marketing circles about the power of effective copy. Great copy, according to marketing and sales gurus, will sell, convert readers into consumers, attract thousands of Twitter followers, and catapult your earning potential into the stratosphere.

While it is true that there’s great power in strategic, persuasive copy, to believe you’re going to please everyone all the time is a lot of pressure for a mortal writer. To help take the edge off, I’ve learned to under-promise and over-deliver.

A couple of years ago, before I formally launched my copywriting business, I studied the articles and books of a very successful copywriter whose own marketing materials boasted that he “nails it, almost every time.”

Being the virgin copywriter and eager-beaver that I was, I did what anybody in my position (who didn’t know any better) would do: I wrote my own marketing copy to say that I, too, would “nail it every time.” My bold, audacious copy got clients calling…and made me look really bad (or, at the very least, a liar) on those rare occasions when it didn’t work.

It also helped me realize the truth: that no matter how ridiculously talented a writer you are, there will be times when your best effort doesn’t work. In writing, as in all things in life, sometimes you will, in fact, nail it.

Other times, you’ll come awfully close. And, on some other, hopefully very rare, occasions you’ll fall flat on your face. It doesn’t mean you’re a failure; it means you’re human, and therefore, in very good company. Consider that:

  • Doctors can’t save every life
  • Lawyers don’t win every case
  • Hitters don’t always bat 1000
  • Musicians don’t always make number-one hits

So, relax. Do your best, and cut yourself some slack. And when you miss the mark on a writing assignment, remember that’s why God created revisions.

Nichole Bazemore is a freelance writer who lives in Atlanta, Georgia. You can connect with her on Twitter @nicholebazemore.