Don't be afraid to "cheat"
👉 (and get my free toolkit too)
One of the more sobering lessons I learned this year was that using cheat sheets and templates and idea prompts improved my writing a lot.
And these weren’t cheat sheets, templates and idea prompts I got from someone else with fresh new ideas I hadn’t seen before. These were ones I made myself for my email course.
They were designed to help the people on the course easily implement what I taught. But it turned out they really helped me too.
In other words, in the moment, I can only recall a small fraction of what I actually know.
When I sit at my keyboard to write an email unaided, I do OK. I can always think of a recent story to talk about, or recall a key moment in my business life.
But when I use my idea prompts my emails have much more variety in them. They’re more on point, they resonate more. They’re more interesting.
Even if you never plan to teach what you do to others I thoroughly recommend making notes as if you do. Make yourself little cheat sheets, guides, checklists, idea prompts, templates.
And then swallow your pride and use them.
Pilots use checklists. Surgeons use checklists. Charlie Munger recommended using checklists to avoid making investment mistakes.
In the moment, none of us can remember everything.
But all of us - with a little bit of time - can create great checklists and prompts and other aides that we can then use in the moment to allow us to consistently perform at our best.
And it turns out that even applies to something creative like writing.
When it comes to your newsletter, writing out a couple of simple lists will make a big difference to how easy it is to write your emails and how good they end up being.
The first list is the main problems, challenges, goals and aspirations of your ideal clients. If you’re writing about them you can be sure your audience will be interested.
The second list is all the interesting and relevant stories you have - from your childhood, your early days at work, your best times and worst times, plus stories from your clients or “left field” stuff you’ve seen.
Using those will make your emails more interesting and keep your readers tuned in.
If you want to know the process and the prompts I use to generate these lists, you can grab them for free in my Email Topic Toolkit here.
Think of it as a slightly late Christmas present from me.
I’ll see you on Wednesday with my final lesson learned.