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David Ogilvy, the advertising legend who brought genuine excitement and classic salesmanship to Madison Avenue, wrote about the value of naps for a writer. He wasn’t referring to not being tired, but rather to using the power of your unconscious – his trick was to load up on information about a project… and then go catch forty winks, telling his mind to have something for him when he awoke.
It made sense to me. Your brain isn’t a muscle – it’s a complex beast different than any other organ on the planet. It can store, process, and create massive quantities of original material… whole worlds of possibility, vast universes of thoughts and ideas.
Believe me, for copywriters and marketers…naps are golden. I’ve done it a thousand times, maybe more, over the course of twenty years as a writer. Stuff my head with info… and then go nap for however long my system requires it. Twenty minutes or two hours, it doesn’t matter.
And when I wake up, I make sure I’ve put a pen and paper nearby… because the headlines and copy will come gushing out.
While you’re awake – and especially while you’re struggling with ideas – you’re your own worst enemy.
Asleep, however, our deeper selves take over.
It’s the real hidden genius inside all of us – our unconscious mind.
You can do the stuffing of info while you’re tired. That’s more or less grunt work – read the reports, log the statistics, interview people on the phone.
But you should never attempt to do actual writing while stifling a yawn. For an experienced copywriter and marketer, being tired is a signal it’s time to take a long break, including a nap. Let things simmer, settle, and process themselves in your head.
Tired, you will struggle with copy for three hours… and it won’t be anywhere near as good as the fifteen minutes of writing you do after an hour’s nap.
Doubt this advice if you must. Most of the struggling writers I meet are skeptical, and afraid to try it out. The Puritan work ethic has settled deep in our souls, and naps are considered a waste of time at best… and an evil cop-out at worst. I’ve had writers laugh at the suggestion. Never the top ones, though.
Your brain is not a muscle. It’s more like a fantastic little city of libraries, warehouses, and think tanks. And every elf slaving away there is both smarter than you are…and yet dedicated to you completely.
Most of the writing you struggle to create while tired will have to be thrown away. It’ll be garbage.
Most of the writing I’ve captured after a “working nap” has stayed, with some editing, in my final piece.
Think about that.
Now, I’m gonna go curl up with the terrier and let the elves figure out another project for me.
write by Marcus