Is Your Copy Finished?

The dreaded question…

Is it finished?

One of my composition professors used to ask this whenever I said I had a new piece to show him.

Finished. What does that mean?

It seems like there’s always some tweaking to be done. Some note out of place. 

Or, to apply it to copywriting, there’s always a sentence that could be smoothed. Or a paragraph re-organized. 

If you allow it, you could tinker forever and ever.

But there comes a moment when the super nit-picky tweaks aren’t going to make ANY difference to the outcome of the piece, whether music or copy. 

Stage 2 in the 3 stages of writing is done.

Stage 1 — recap from Saturday’s email — is the research aspect. Head back to Saturday’s email for a refresher.

Stage 2 is the writing itself. Either you can be like Miles Davis and pump out an album in 72 hours, as he did with “Kind of Blue,” arguably the greatest jazz album of all time. Or, you can spend 7 years writing one song, like Leonard Cohen did with “Hallelujah.” 

I have a hard time believing that “Hallelujah” was any better after a month or two of tweaks than it ended up being after 7 years.

Most of these “stuck in forever” mode projects happen because the composer or the artist or the copywriter isn’t willing to go on to Stage 3.

But Stage 3 is crucial. 

Stage 3 is the real test. 

Stage 3 is when you find out if it’s really finished.

Is It Finished_.jpg

Stage 3 is where the money meets the road.

Stage 3 is where you get some actual results.

Stage 1 = Preparation, or research.

Stage 2 = Composition, or, the actual writing.

Stage 3 = Performance, or, Marketing.

No matter how much work you put into writing a piece for orchestra… not matter how good you are, how much experience you have, how many masterpieces you’ve composed in the past… you NEVER know if the new piece works until you get it in the hands of the orchestra.

That first read-through of your new piece teaches you more about “how” to write well than any textbook or class or coach. You’re learning in real time. You're getting precise, audible results. 

I guess you could call this, Direct Response Composition. And believe me, the musicians will be VERY direct with you if they don’t like your piece. 

Stage 3 in copywriting is CRUCIAL. You CANNOT know if your piece works until you test it out on the market. 

And that’s what the final section of my book is about. Stage 3, Performance!

Sometimes your copy needs a performance-enhancing kick in the pants. A jolt of steroids or human growth hormone or viagra. 

But you have no way of knowing until you test it out.

Make sure you don’t write a stillborn campaign. Make sure you test your copy in stage 3, in actual Performance.

Click the link below to learn more about Stage 3 in my soon-to-be-released book, Symphonic Copywriting. I go into my 2 favorite copy Performance methods and give a bunch of references for more deep “Stage 3” reading.

Beethoven ain’t Beethoven without a real orchestra to play his music. Your copy ain’t NOTHING until it gets some performance practice. You’ll know exactly what to tweak, what to fix, what to toss out, and what to amplify.

Then, maybe, you can answer the dreaded questions… “Is it finished?”

And may your copy every be melodic and harmonious!