“What One of the World’s Great Novelists Learned About Writing from David Ogilvy” on Copyblogger tells the story of how famous author Salman Rushdie learned copywriting and writing in general from another great copywriter, David Ogilvy.
Imagine it’s your job to convey the taste of a chocolate bar in just one word. And by the way, you’re not going to get paid for, “Delicious.”
This was the situation Rushdie was in one afternoon when a panicking co-worker asked him to brainstorm a new slogan for Aero, a British candy bar filled with air bubbles. As they batted around ideas, the unthinkable happened. The client called unexpectedly, demanding results.
This particular co-worker, according to Rushdie, “Had a tendency, when he was panicking, to sweat profusely and to begin to stammer, also extensively.” When the client asked him to do something, he said, “It’s impossib-ib-ib-ible.”
Rushdie says the light went on. “While he was still on the phone sweating and stammering, I wrote down every word I could think of that ended with ‘able’ or ‘ible’ and turned it into ‘bubble’.” Rushdie ended up with “Irresistibubble,” which is still Aero’s slogan, over 30 years later.
Panic can be an excellent tool for creativity.
The article features a list of tips Rushdie learned from working in copywriting and alongside David Ogilvy, and these tips apply to blogging, social web publishing, and self-publishing and marketing today.
Your blog exercise today is to read the article and go through the points made it in, and apply it to your blog workmanship.
I also want you to look around you and consider who your blogging mentors are, and make sure that you are following and studying their work, getting to know them, and learning from them and their experiences. A mentor is critical to help you push your limits, as described in the article by Rushdie:
It took me a long time to learn to be a writer. One must find themselves an editor or, failing that, a group of people who will tell you the truth about your writing, and are not afraid to say, ‘This really isn’t good enough.’ … Unless someone can tell you that what you’re writing is no good, then you won’t know how to push it to a point when it can start being good.
I featured mentors in “Blog Exercises: Building Blogger Relationships,” and talked about you being a mentor in “Blog Exercises: Are You Setting an Example for Others?” if you need more information on blogging mentors.