Last week, I wrote two lengthy emails in the same time it takes me to write just one.
And not only did I write twice as fast, but I wrote these for my mentor Parris Lampropoulos. If you don’t know Parris, he’s a copywriting legend, one of the “titans of direct response,” and he’s got an incredible record for beating controls. And then keeping the control for up to a decade.
And when you’re one of his copy cubs, you quickly learn that you won’t ever get away with lazy copy or not following his top-secret checklist. It doesn’t matter if we’re on a deadline, it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve rewritten it already. It’s not done until it’s perfect.
I tell you this so that you’ll know that when I wrote 2x faster, I wasn’t churning out trash copy. It still had to be A-plus work.
And when I sent these emails to Parris, he only had a couple of minor suggestions. Which means the copy was really good.
So how did I write A-plus copy twice as fast? And on a typewriter?!
Okay, it wasn’t on a typewriter. This is 2021, and I’m not a hipster.
But I did write 2x faster, and here’s how…
I decided to test Parkinson’s Law — the adage that work expands to fill the time allotted.
And the reason I decided to test Parkinson’s Law is that we needed to bank an extra email, because we’d lost the runway we had when I was out during the winter storm. It stresses me out when we don’t have runway, so I really wanted to get two emails written.
So here’s what I did:
First, I changed up my calendar. Normally, I allot 30 minutes to write the email outline, 30 minutes for a first draft, 30 minutes for a second draft, and 30 minutes for final changes. So now I split those 30-minute sessions between two emails. That meant 15 minutes to write the outline for email #1 and 15 minutes to write the outline for email #2, and so on.
Then, I used my timer. This is only significant because I’m not the best at remembering to use my timer. I tried the Pomodoro technique and couldn’t stick with it … it just made me hungry for Italian food. (Ragù alla bolognese … buonissimo!) But for this week, I wanted to use the timer.
So how did it work out?
Well, like I said, I’m not the best at following the timer method. So some of the 15-minute sessions stretched into 20 minutes, because I was in the middle of a thought and turned off the alarm. (“You’re not the boss of me, timer! FREEEDOM!”) But at the end of the week, I had two emails in almost the same time it takes to write one.
So it was a huge success.
Now, I tried testing it again this week, and it didn’t work as well. I think it’s because we have our runway again, so I didn’t feel the same pressure to get it done. I knew that if I didn’t get both completely finished, it wasn’t such a big deal. So as my timeline expanded, so has the time it takes to get it done.
So if you need to write faster, try this out and let me know how it goes. You might be surprised at how well it works.