3 Big Mistakes I Made During My Solo Writing Retreat

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I designated this weekend as a Solo Writing Retreat. I envisioned diving in deep to work on copy for 2 big client projects. Me, my Mac, and my Muse. It was going to be sweeeeet!

And yet even with the best intentions set, I made some big, very commonvery painful mistakes. The kinds of mistakes I COACH my clients on how to avoid. As I found myself in the “deer in headlights” pose I felt totally humbled.

It took a girlfriend to help me see what I already knew. She snapped me out of the fog and into a focused flow. I had to laugh. And then I had to share these mistakes to make sure this doesn’t happen to you.

Mistake #1: Fantasy Expectations

I had this fantasy of getting dozens of emails written for several email campaigns and a couple chapters written for a book I’m ghostwriting. Up until Saturday morning this seemed doable. Realistic even.

Saturday morning came and I felt like I was at the foot of Mt. Everest, expecting to reach the summit by sunset. Agh! I froze with in-action. Where do I start? This is TOO BIG to climb in one day!

Mistake #2: Time Warp

I looked at my weekend as two big time blocks: Saturday and Sunday.

It seemed like there was so much time to get it all done and yet…

Time vanished quickly; it seemed like the sand falling through the hourglass was on steroids.

Mistake #3: Whirling Dervish of Distraction

I made writing my #1 priority this weekend. And yet, when I woke up on Sunday I had a surge of energy to go through all my boxes that had been in storage in CO and which were now sitting in the corner of the house here in CA.

What a great thing! I thought. I’ll follow the energy, get this all organized and put in the basement, and then have a clean clear house to write in. That will be great feng shui.

3 hours, 3 loads of laundry, and a dozen trips up and down the stairs later, I’m showered, smiling, and the house smells of sage. Ahhh… everything is now in its place.

Except my copy.

So WTF, right?

Here I am a copywriting coach. I COACH my clients through these experiences. So while I was definitely humbled to find myself in this place, I was also deeply grateful to have the tools and wisdom I needed to overcome these mistakes.

Here’s what I remembered to do, and you can do too, so no more “deer in the headlights” moments for either of us!

Strategy #1: Approach Your Copy Like A Piece Of Cake

Rather than taking on the entire email campaign, start with the first email. Rather than the entire sales page, start with one section. Rather than the first chapter, start with the first few pages.

Whatever piece of copy you’re tackling, break it down into pieces. You usually eat a piece of cake one bite at a time, don’t you? Approach your copy like your cake and you’ll be way more satisfied.

Strategy #2: Chunk Time

Set a timer for 60 or 90 minutes. Pick one of your bite size goals. Dive in and write.

When the timer goes off you have a choice: take a break or if you’re in a flow and want to keep going, set the timer for another 10+ minutes. However, frequent breaks to move your body and celebrate your progress is essential.

Strategy #3: Use Handcuffs

Make sure the laundry is done and your boxes unpacked before diving into a designated writing time! Put the phone on silence. Put a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door. Commit to not checking FB except on your breaks (if even then). And as a last resort, handcuff yourself to your chair!

So there you have it: copy, cake and handcuffs, oh my!

How’s it get any better than that?

Put these 3 strategies into action the next time you sit down to write and voila! Writing your copy will be (like) a piece of cake.

Do you have another strategy you use to support your solo writing session times?

I’d love to hear it, leave a comment here for everyone’s benefit.
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