A copy lesson from ABBA

Benny and Bjorn out of ABBA wrote a whole bucket of hits.

Okay, they’re not my kinda thing. I’d sooner gnaw my own ears off than watch Mama Mia again. But I guess you have to applaud what they achieved.

Anyway – someone asked them, years back, how they managed to write one zinger after another. And their answer was telling, for anyone who has to write copy.

Don’t worry. It’s not a wife-swappy thing. They did that in their spare time.

And it’s not some weird Swedish tradition, involving meatballs and seasonal suicides.

No, it’s much simpler.

They said, they showed up every day and wrote stuff.

It’s not profound, I know. But it’s important.

See, we all have those can’t-be-arsed days when a blank page looks like the North Face of the Eiger. When writing a single word feels like a Herculean task (the extra big type that would get Hercules crying for his mum).

And on those days, it’s oh so easy to kid yourself you’re too busy. To hide behind a less taxing chore, like untangling the phone cord or playing peek-a-boo with the cat.

So you leave it till the day when you feel “inspired”.

Bad move, baby.

It’s no effort to write on the good days. But you gets real good at this ol’ thang when you push through the pain. When you charge at the scary blank page, biro in hand, like an angry warrior brandishing his best disembowelling spear. And you write.

Write anything.

Even if it’s crap.

That’s fine – because the crap gives you something to work with.

And I’ll bet you half the perishable items in my fridge, you’ll have a fully working idea on your hands after 2 or 3 paragraphs.

Trust me.

I’ve been getting paid to scribble stuff for 29 years. And if someone offered me a squillion quid for my bestest tip, it’d be that.

(They’d want their money back, cos they’d be looking for some “secret sauce” – but that doesn’t exist. The only secret is, show up and write).

It’s a JFDI thing.

So be more Benny/Bjorn – write now.

Meet the Author

James Daniel

You might not know who James is...but you've probably read his copy. Through high street clients like Hidden Hearing, or big gun marketers like Jonathan Jay and Chris Cardell. His words are out there, pulling in new business every month. What else? Well his books, Do You Talk Like That at Home? and Direct Mail 101 will help you squeeze out more sales. Oh yeah - and his next book Before You JFDI will help you plan your next campaign. Get on the list for a free advance copy here.

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