By Jeffrey Hedquist
Here’s the tough news: Great radio is a matter of rewriting more than writing.
Ernest Hemingway rewrote “A Farewell to Arms” 39 times. His effort paid off. He won the Pulitzer and Nobel prizes for literature.
All you want to do is reach the imaginations of a few jaded consumers and motivate them to buy from your client… and maybe win an award or two in the process.
But making a good commercial into a great one still takes an application of our scarcest commodity – time.
Oh sure, occasionally inspiration strikes, the right words tumble out and you have an attention-getting effective commercial story that needs very little editing. More often, you have to rework, edit, dig deep, push the limits, slice, dice, maybe change direction and punch up what you started with.
Michael Crichton: “Books aren’t written – they’re rewritten… It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn’t quite done it.” Michael’s advice applies to radio commercials as well.
As you rewrite, go for stronger words, better images, more compelling phrases, and tighter more focused concepts.
It sometimes helps to write something and revisit it the next day, or at least later. Try writing in short bursts. Set a timer for 15 minutes. Write intensely until the alarm goes off. Leave that commercial. Work on another one. Take a short walk, listen to music or watch a video. Now, return to the first commercial with fresh eyes and ears and see how it can be improved.
No time? Write for 5 minutes, leave it, come back. Repeat.
Stephen King: “Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.”
I wish there were an easier way. The writers’ block-busting techniques I share in my seminars, teleseminars and in products like the 60-Second Copywriter will help lift your work from ineffective to effective radio quickly. The next level – going from there to truly great will take time and effort, but rewriting can bring the powerful results you and your client deserve.
© 2005 Hedquist Productions, Inc. All rights reserved.