“For each letter received from a creditor, write fifty lines on an extraterrestrial subject and you will be saved.” – Charles Baudelaire, Born Apr. 9, 1821.
Practical advice there – shockingly from a POET, no less. Poetry being the most useless kind of writing.
But even in Baudelaire's time, he knew that if you're going to be a writer, you can always write where the MONEY IS and you'll be fine.
We have it even better. We don't have to prostitute ourselves to the fickle extraterrestrial poem-buyer market. We write much more useful and valuable kinds of lines.
Opportunity abounds for the persuasive writer. People will always need to buy stuff. Therefore the people who sell stuff will always have competition. Copy will always be needed to help this guy outsell that guy, especially when they both sell the same stuff. Especially when it's all the same price.
They need you.
Because your copy can do a lot more for your clients than merely sell their stuff. As Baudelaire also said, “To handle a language skillfully is to practice a kind of evocative sorcery.”
With words, we can make common products seem rare, competitors seem untrustworthy, preferred vendors seem saintly, products seem miraculous, pains insufferable, and solutions imminent.
What you have, people NEED. They will pay for it if you're good at it.
How do you get good at it? How do you think up what to write about? Baudelaire said, “Inspiration comes of working every day.” Always be working. If you're not writing offers on behalf of your clients, be writing on behalf of yourself.
Don't have products to sell? That's okay. Sell your services as a copywriter. To who? Don't you have a list of people who buy copy services? Why not?
How can you get one? How can you make an audience of people who buy what you sell?
So that while you practice getting better at making offers to them, they might even buy from the bad ones. The better you get, the more they buy. The more you write, the bigger that list gets.
Don't have the confidence to do this yet? I'll tell you my number one guru secret. Ready?
Do it anyway. Then when you succeed despite your self-doubt, you will find your confidence magically boosted.
Then do it again.
Why won't you? Does it feel weird? Does it feel unnatural?
It shouldn't. Baudelaire said, “Nature… is nothing but the inner voice of self-interest.”
It's natural for you to do this. The baby is hungry. The creditors need money. You have bills.
Write for your supper, cultists. Sell, sell, sell.
Dazzle them with our brilliant bullshit and bring home that bacon. Poetry doesn't pay like it used to.