EPISODE #5 - Painters Paint, Composers Compose, Writers Write
What do Pablo Picasso, J.S. Bach, and Charles Dickens all have in common? They were prolific creators, each in their own rite and own art form.
Those who haven’t dedicated themselves to a lifetime of artistic creation often have a false and even “romantic” image of an artist, taking their time creating one or two masterpieces every 10 years or so, and then sitting back and relaxing the rest of the time. This couldn’t be farther from the truth, and it’s one of the most important lessons online business owners and content creators need to learn.
00:00 Any working composer or painter or sculptor will tell you that inspiration comes at the eighth hour of labor rather than as a bolt out of the blue. We have to get our vanities and our preconceptions out of the way and do the work in the time. A lot of that was a quote by the great film composer of Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, and in many others, the great John Williams, and this is what we're going to talk about on the musical copywriting podcast today. Your favorite four letter word work
00:42 Welcome to the music of copywriting podcast to copywriting resource for take action entrepreneurs. I'm your host, Doug Pew
00:57 What do Pablo Picasso, Johann Sebastian Bach, and Charles Dickens all have in common? Well, at least this one thing, they were all prolific creators, each of them in their own right and in their own art form. Those who have not dedicated themselves to a lifetime of artistic creation often have a false and kind of romantic idea of an artist taking the time to create one or two masterpieces every 10 years or so. And then kicking back to the rest of the time and enjoying the finer things of life. This couldn't be farther from the truth and it's one of the most important lessons for us. And for you as an online business owner and content creator to learn. We're going to talk about this thing, this hard work thing, and I want to talk about it circling around one of my, uh, well more than one, at least two, maybe a few others will slip in as I get going here, but at least two of my favorite composers.
02:07 Now you're probably rolling your eyes already. Another music example. Well, yes, this is the music of copywriting podcasts. So get used to it cause everything for me is music. Um, so, alright, let's go back in time. 1685 in Eisenach, Germany, the greatest composer who ever lived was born in Johann Sebastian Bach. And Bach is so incredibly revered, not just by classical musicians. I mean the Beatles talked about him and you can hear his influence in their music. George Martin or producer many times referred them to Bach. There's all sorts of pop songs in the sixties and seventies that actually rip off Bach like exactly the kind of spice up the tempo and the rhythm and stuff. But he was definitely the most influential composer of all time and the guy worked like mad. He had so many problems in his life. We'll go into Bach another day when we're talking about getting over struggles and stuff, but today I just want to talk about his work ethic.
03:20 His, his work ethic was legendary several times later in life. He was asked by biographers or by um, newspaper writers or just interested people, how he could be such a genius, like how does he do all this and that. And he pumped out so much music at such a high level and he would always say what sounds to many, like a cheeky response. But it was the truth. He says, I was obliged to be industrious. Whoever is equally industrious will succeed equally well. Meaning if you work as hard as I do, you can achieve what I've achieved. And he put it down to that entirely. He didn't ever talk about talent. Now I'm, I believe he did have some innate talent and he came from an incredibly musical family that went back generations, but he worked for it from a very young age. He just liked devoted himself to being an organist and a violinist and a keyboard player and a composer and a singer and he pumped out so much music.
04:34 He wrote over a thousand pieces in his life. Many of these pieces were very long pieces, like at least a half an hour or more. And I mean over a thousand pieces. I don't know, it's hard to fathom, but if you go into a music library, like a, an old, an old school like university music library, there's a section in these libraries that have the complete works of composers and when you go over to box works, there are so many volumes. There's like 2030 40 volumes, like an encyclopedia of his complete works. Actually, there's another composer who outdid him. His name was tell him on the drown the same time, I don't like his music nearly as much and he's not nearly as famous as Bach was, but he wrote even more music. It's, which just blows my mind, but the point is he worked so, so hard and wrote a lot and that the title of this episode really teaches a very important lesson.
05:43 Painters, paint composers, compose writers, right? It's like dud. We know, but it's really important to remember this. You, if you are a writer, if you are here listening to this podcast, chances are you are here because you want to pick up a tip or two about your writing for your business, your copywriting, your, your marketing, writing, how you can improve a Facebook ad or improve a sales page or improve an email. And the thing is, one of the key things is you have to write a lot of them. You can't just theorize and listen to ideas and by osmosis become a better writer. You have to work it out. You have to experience, you have to do the work. Boy, I wish there was a magic pill to get me to lose the weight. Right? But there's no magic pill. I have to do the work.
06:43 I have to put in the exercise, I have to put in the self discipline, I have to put in the work. Same goes for writing. So I'm sorry to like totally just like destroy any hopes of grand jury and magic pills for copywriting genius, but it just doesn't exist. We have to do the work. Now let me give you another example of a composer whose music I'm sure you know this man. If you ever seen the film White Christmas, I'm sh. If you haven't, I'm sure you've at least heard the song. I'm dreaming of a white charisma just like the ones I used to know. That song was written by the great composer and Songwriter Irving Berlin. Now he has what I call, uh, the failure method. That's a massive success. This guy, he's been called the great American minstrel. Like so many of our most popular songs are written by Irving Berlin and another famous songwriter around the same time period.
07:56 Jerome Kern said this about urban Berlin. Irving Berlin has no place in American music. He is American music. Emotionally. He honestly absorbed the vibrations emanating from the people manners and life of his time and in turn gives these impressions back to the world. Simplified, clarified, and glorified. Oh man, if that's not copyright, Anil, what is that? That he figured out how to get the vibrations from the people, right? Like we hear the whole, the old thing by Robert Collier that he said that we need to enter the conversation already going on in the customer's mind. That's exactly what Jerome Kern just said about Irving Berlin. He had such a knack for putting his finger on the pulse of how the people of his time felt about what it was like to be alive, to be an American and to experience life at that time. And he put it in his music.
09:02 Okay, now let me tell you, he was not the greatest musician. In fact, he was kind of a lousy piano player. He could really only play the piano and compose in one key. And there are 12 major keys and 12 minor keys. They have a lot of options when you're writing. But he just wasn't very good at the piano. And so he wrote and played almost every song he ever wrote in the key of f sharp major. Which if that doesn't mean anything to you, just take it from me. It's like the most inconvenient key imaginable for most of us. It is not a fun key, but that's what he was comfortable playing cause he was kind of self taught and he just made it work. So you may say, but I am not a professional copywriter but I'm not very good at writing. Well the greatest American songwriter, arguably, but probably that's probably a true statement.
10:01 Couldn't even hardly play the piano and he only played one key. So it's like what's your excuse? Um, probably doesn't stand up next to that one. Sounds a little harsh. But today's is the, it's a day of harsh lessons. So we are going to suck it up and we're going to go for it anyway. Now, let me tell you a little more about Irving Berlin. Get a load of this. We love conversion rates and stuff, so let's, let's get a little conversion rate going here. In his lifetime, he published only about 10 or 15% of the songs he wrote and he wrote, he had 1500 published songs. If that's just 10 or 15% of the pieces represented by his complete output. I mean just that's just so many songs over a 60 year career, ridiculous number of songs. Writing a sales page or email sequence for your new online course membership site or product launch can be frustrating and take hours, days or even weeks even at the best of times you put your heart and soul into your writing, but you're not sure if it's going to resonate with your audience.
11:08 You've spent weeks or even months creating or content and a lot is riding on the success of your sales page and email sequences. It's the kind of fear that keeps you up at night, worried that all your hard work will have been in vain. Luckily there is a way to get your copy ready without spending thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars hiring another copywriter. I do copy critiques in one on one sessions to help you finalize and maximize the strength of your sales pages or emails sequences. I take the time to study what you've written and make suggestions to improve and hone your copy. I've written winning copy, promoting online courses and seminars for influencers like Ray Edwards and social media examiner. I've coached copywriters as a part of the Ray Edwards International copywriter certification program. Here's what one of my students, Colin Daley
11:54 said about my coaching and critiquing Doug is a copywriter who knows how to find the most important idea. Quickly is coaching a few simple but powerful suggestions helped me improve my copy in record time. Doug's unique musical perspective helps him feel the right word or phrase from the reader's point of view. If you're looking for a copy coach or killer copywriter, I highly recommend Doug. Thanks Colin. To get your copy critique, visit Douglas [inaudible] dot com slash work with me and now back to our show.
12:25 He would try to write a song every day. That was his goal and he was pumping them out so fast that many of the publishers thought that there must be three or four of these songwriters all submitting songs under the same name and just couldn't believe that this, this one person was doing so much. It was unbelievable. Okay, but so let's take those 1500 published songs and keep going with our conversion rates here. So he wrote a 20 Broadway shows, he wrote 15 films, and in those were some of these 1500 songs than many of the other 1500 of of the rest of the 1500 were just songs for people to sing, just kind of, you know, whatever songs we, I guess we would call them radio songs today, now our iTunes songs or whatever. So of those 1500 publish songs, only 25 became chart toppers.
13:21 Okay. So he wrote like nine as he wrote, the 1500 published songs represent 10 to 15% of the songs he wrote in his entire life, but only published 1500 of them. Then of those 1500 only 25 of them became hits, chart toppers, billboard hits. And then of those 25 eight songs were nominated for Academy Awards and only four of them actually received an award. So only four of his 1500 published songs won Academy Awards. But the one song that was so popular, it became the most recorded song in history and has sold over 100 million recorded copies. And every artist from being Crosby, the Frank Sinatra to Michael Bublé to lady Gaga has recorded this song. This ne song was white Christmas, but it's sold 100 million recorded copies and it's still being recorded today as to, it's ridiculous. There's no other song that can match that. That is the like champion of the world.
14:52 Okay. So wow. But to get that ne song, what did he have to go through? He had to go through ifteen hundred published songs that represent only en or ifteen percent of his entire output and the guy could hardly play the piano. Wow. Talk about a big idea. So when it comes to your writing, I'm not saying you have to do as much as Irving Berlin did, but you should be willing to do that if you truly want to master this craft of writing killer sales copy, marketing materials, advertising copy, you got write every day. Painters, paint composers, composable riders, right? Take the leaf out of js box cap and take another leaf out of out of 'em. I should've said I mixed my metaphors there. Take a feather out of js box cap and take a leaf out of Irving Berlin's book and apply these because the more you write, the better you get.
16:11 Look at the Beatles. Let's take another example. Okay. The beetles get started when they're quite young. John Lennon and Paul McCartney meet when they're young boys and they write this early song. She was just eventeen you know what I mean? I saw her standing there, which really got them off on the right foot. At a certain point, they were writing a song a day for many years. Most of these songs didn't see the light of day, but many of them made it into the recording studio and they had this goal when they were, when they had left the recording, the, I'm not the recording though. They had left the concert circuit in ineteen sixty six I believe after their final concert at candlestick park in San Francisco, they decided to dedicate themselves to the studio and that's when albums like sergeant pepper and all those cool things happened. After that, they were very dedicated to their work and their goal was to finish a song a day.
17:15 Paul would come in with a song idea, but it'd only be halfway done. Or John would come in with a song idea, but it'd only be partially done and he'd be missing some lyrics isn't it? Wasn't sure where to take the the chorus next and, and then they would, they would get together and they'd just work at it and work at it and work at it, but they would not stop until they finished a song that day. It's very much like, I believe it was a Rogers and Hammerstein. I think that's the duo. It might've been ne of the other famous Duos, I forget, but ne of the famous musical theater composer, librettist composer, book writer, lyricist, uh, duos, there's a, there's a story that the, the lyric writer would be in ne room writing lyrics for the musical and the composer had been in the other room trying to write a tune for that, that lyric that is his collaborator was writing in the next room and he was so intent on getting the songs right that with each new step of his melody with each new note.
18:18 So like let's, let's say that the irst couple notes were set and there like a c, e, d c Let's, let's just say hypothetically to find the next note. He would try each of the welve adjacent notes around it until he found the ne that just sounded right. Exactly right. And then he would do it again on the next note and then again the next time he would try every possibility. Now that doesn't sound too bad on the surface, but that, that is pain staking. He did this every day because he knew if he could get his melodies just right that they would carry the musical forward. And they did and they became very famous. And what without that day to day, hour by hour, minute by minute, econd by econd dedication to the craft, then never would have reached the heights that they did. So you may just be a business owner who's not trying to be a full time copywriter and that's great.
19:16 Good for you. You have your expertise and you should be doing that. Maybe you're hiring a copywriter or maybe you are a full time copywriter, you're helping clients or maybe you're just getting started and you're writing for your business. Whatever situation you're in, there is an element of craft to what you are doing, whether it's cold calling, whether it's copywriting, whether it's running traffic and learning analytics, whether it's building websites, can be any number of these things for your online business. Whatever it is, you need to lean in to the craft because avoiding it and getting into this, like, I'll do it later, I'll figure it out. Or I'll learn by osmosis. Bach never would have been buck. ohn Williams. Never would've been in John Winch, would never had this star where music Irving Berlin would never have been Irving Berlin. We would never have a white Christmas. The Beatles would never have been the Beatles.
20:13 And that's, and so many more. So many more examples. We didn't even start on like athletes and all the other kinds of crafts that are out there like these, this writing stuff. It's, it takes time and you have to be, you need to be kind to yourself too and give yourself the space to, you know, cut your teeth. It just takes time. Scales and Arpeggios. Play them over and over again. Get the fingering right, get the feel right. The same with your copy emails after emails. This is ne of the reasons I love daily emails because not only does it polarize your audience and help keep the people who really want to follow you with you, but it, and it also helps to teach your people as often as possible. But then it helps you get your chops really sharpened up because you're writing every day.
21:13 Maybe it's blogging every day, or maybe it's Facebooking everyday, that's fine. But take the time, set the time aside, schedule it out, put it on your calendar to write every day because painters, paint, composers, compose and writers. Right? And if you need any help, I love to see if I can be helpful to you. Feel free to reach out to me. You can go to my website, Douglas ew dot com slash work with me and look and see what I can do, whether it's a critique or some coaching or whatever. I would love to help you. So that is all for this episode is a little bit tough love. But, uh, sometimes we all need a little bit of tough love. You can do it. You really can. Uh, I truly believe that if you put your mind to it and you work at it, you can conquer it. These things and you can become a master.
22:08 Maybe you won't win an academy award or make $1 billion, but you will progress. You will get better and better and better. That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do. Not that the nature of the thing itself has changed. What that our power to do it has increased. I believe that was Emerson. Uh, some little, correct me if it's not. Anyway, that's all for today. Tune in next week for our irst guest on the music of copywriting podcast, the Quincy Jones of copywriting. I will tell you more about this special guests very soon. All right. Take care
22:48 and get to work. See you next week. Thanks for tuning into the music of copyrighting podcast. Please take a minute to subscribe and leave me a comment. Tell me what you think. If you like the show, please feel free to share with a friend on social media for your complete fix of the music of copyright podcasts. Please visit the music of copywriting dot com. See you next time.