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Old 31st March 2010, 07:33 AM   #1
acwebguru
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Default What Should I Read??

Being a content writer, i have to read different magazines and newspaper such as NY Times, La Times. But one of my friends has advised me to go through novels for honing my writing skills. And I have started reading some novels but I am finding it difficult to go through the novels of Hardy, Dickens etc whereas I am finding it highly interesting to read Hawthorne, Lawrence, James Joyce. Now, it is good for a writer to read different writing styles but they are boring me to death. One more thing do native writer faces any difficults while reading the books of Hardy, Dickens etc?

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Old 1st April 2010, 12:20 AM   #2
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Uh... pardon me. But novels? I started to learn how to write copy when I started to read advertising. Are you trying to sell you customer or website visitor? Or are you trying to entertain him?

Good ad copy that get's optimized with keywords and phrases is what I would suggest.

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Old 5th April 2010, 11:29 AM   #3
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Follow some good marketing blogs and get the RSS feed and stick to that.

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Old 8th April 2010, 10:30 AM   #4
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+1

As someone who has an Honours Degree in English Literature, I'd have to say it's taught me absolutely nothing about copywriting (in fairness when I did the degree, I didn't know that's what I'd end up doing!).

The great writers can captivate the imagination and transport you through place and time - but they've got 500 pages to say what you need to say in 500 words.

If you're going to use literary sources the best thing you can do is flip straight to the outside back cover and check out the review headlines!

PTF

PS off topic but if you want to get the hang of Dickens, start with Great Expectations - awesome!

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Old 12th April 2010, 02:00 PM   #5
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I think I know what you mean, acwebguru

You mean that you should read to improve your language, since you're not a native English writer.

Is that correct?

Because the others are right about that you cannot learn copywriting from Dickens, but I do agree that for a foreigner (I was born in Denmark) reading a lot of English, and writing a lot of English, is the way forth.

My proofreader says that I've improved a lot, and I think it's due to two things:

1) I write a lot of articles in English now
2) I play World of Warcraft - we write in English, we read in English there.

So don't bore yourself to death with dusty books. Choose some modern ones. I'm going to read through Zoo Story by Edward Albee again. I love that play, and I'm going to learn parts of it by heart.

I've seen my daughter learn almost perfect French at the age of ten, because in France they teach children to learn poetry by heart.

Hope this helps you.

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Old 12th April 2010, 10:23 PM   #6
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I have another real simple idea. What about a book on copywriting? Although I really consider myself as 'self taught' in that field, I like reading some of the books because they give you good ideas on 'specific' parts.

Hope that helps! Good luck!

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Old 23rd April 2010, 01:43 PM   #7
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I'm been writing for over 40 years and I still read books on writing. I highly recommend books by Bob Bly. He has written more than 70 books plus dozens of ebooks - most of them about direct mail, advertising and copywriter. Go to www.bly.com. I have several of his books and I read them again from to time whenever I get stuck.

That said, remember, writers write for different reasons ...
Novelists write to entertain.
News reporters write to inform.
Advertising/direct mail copywriters write to persuade and sell.

(Don't listen to any advice that suggests that copywriters need to be creative and clever. Creativity doesn't sell. Persuasion sells.)

One idea you might want to try is to put away your laptop and take out a voice recorder. Then, instead of writing your copy, organize your ideas and talk about them into the recorder. Then transcribe into text and editing.

What this helps you do is get all of your ideas down on paper first so you don't get bogged down tweaking every sentence.

There's a great line from one of the old time direct mail gurus who once said, "It's not how you write, it's what you write that is important." In order words, the content of your argument is more important that the way you phrase your sentences.

Good luck.

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Old 28th April 2010, 08:58 AM   #8
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Hey Bob

Thanks for the tip about the other Bob - Bly. I joined his newsletter right away.

Isn't it just great to learn more about writing? And there will probably always be more to learn

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Old 5th May 2010, 09:55 AM   #9
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I highly recommend Brian Clark's outstanding copywriting blog, CopyBlogger.

David Jackson

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Old 5th May 2010, 01:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acwebguru View Post
Being a content writer, i have to read different magazines and newspaper such as NY Times, La Times. But one of my friends has advised me to go through novels for honing my writing skills. And I have started reading some novels but I am finding it difficult to go through the novels of Hardy, Dickens etc whereas I am finding it highly interesting to read Hawthorne, Lawrence, James Joyce. Now, it is good for a writer to read different writing styles but they are boring me to death. One more thing do native writer faces any difficults while reading the books of Hardy, Dickens etc?
hi acwebguru,
I think you really need to specify what the content is for.
Is it for humans or search engines?
Is it for entertainment, education, or marketing?
Is it targeted at kids or adults?

I would think that all these things would effect what kind of content you want to produce.

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