Pre-Game Rituals to Get You In the Writing Zone

Wade Boggs — legendary Hall of Fame third-baseman for the Boston Red Sox — ate chicken before every Major League Baseball game he played, and he played for 18 years.

He always stepped into the batting cage for batting practice at 5:17 and ran sprints at 7:17. He drew the Hebrew word “Chai” (“life”) in the batter’s box before every at-bat. The night before a game, he reportedly visualized four at-bats and “saw” himself getting a hit in each one.

Wade Boggs may have been one of the most superstitious baseball players in the history of the game, but he also has the 24th best on-base percentage of all time (.415). He’s got the 30th best batting average (.328), and he was the only player in the 20th century to have seven consecutive 200-hit seasons.

Like him, I’ve developed my own pre-game ritual that I perform before I get into the game of each workday.

I make myself a pot of organic, whole leaf tea. I place my spiral notebook in front of me, along with the sales letter that I’m currently studying. Then I set the timer for 50 minutes, grasp my pen, and start writing.

Every morning, I copy a successful sales letter from my swipe file … by hand. Some of the longer letters take me several days to finish, because I always stop when the timer buzzes at the 50-minute mark.

After the first 50 minutes, I reset the timer for an additional 10 minutes.

Then, I reach for my journal and open it to a blank page. Here, I write out my business goals in what I call my “success statement.” Every morning, I write how many active clients I want to have, the types of projects I want to do for them, and the fees I want to collect.

Here’s a template of what my success statement looks like:

I have (insert number) (insert type of industry) clients, who each are paying me an average of (insert dollar figure) per month for (insert type of projects).

I have two distinct types of clients I want to work with, so I write a separate paragraph for each.

I write my success statement in the present tense … as if I’ve already achieved it. That’s important. According to experts like Napoleon Hill and Anthony Robbins, among others, it conditions my subconscious not only to accept this as my new reality but also to actually make it so.

Next, I write my “why” — why this goal, this new reality, is important to me. As copywriters, we’re used to digging deep to get to the emotional benefits. That’s what I do here. I write the deep and emotional “why” motivating me to achieve success.

Writing my success statement and my why takes about seven of the 10 minutes on the timer. When I’m finished writing, I close the book, lay the pen down, and close my eyes. I sit quietly, breathe deeply, and concentrate on my vision of success.

I let myself experience what that success will feel like.

When the timer buzzes, I get up and get to work.

So, let’s break it down …

Copying letters by hand

The first part of my daily ritual is copying successful sales letters by hand. We’ve all been told to do this to internalize the format, flow, and pacing of letters that have worked. But how many of us actually do it?

I didn’t until my friend and mastermind group member Tanya MarCia challenged our group to do this for an hour each morning. She was participating in a challenge like this and shared the concept with us.

I liked the idea and incorporated writing my success statement out by hand each day as well.

I’m still amazed at the difference it has made!

I have yet another notebook at hand to capture all the ideas that flood my mind after my daily “workout.” I’ve experienced fewer episodes of writer’s block and can get more writing done in less time.

This exercise “primes the pump,” so to speak.

My success statement

The second part of my ritual is getting focused on my goals and the why behind them. Here, too, I’ve seen evidence that this works.

In the first month that I incorporated this daily ritual into my routine, eight new potential clients asked for proposals. I landed six of the eight.

On top of that, two existing clients requested additional work.

That’s success in action, and I’m making real progress toward that new reality.

I shared my ritual of the success statement with a few non-copywriter business friends who have now tried it for a month as well. They experienced a similar increased level of success in their businesses.

Your turn

So, now it’s your turn. I’m extending the challenge to you …

Try out my daily ritual of copying successful sales letters and writing your own success statement and personal why.

Commit to doing it for a month, and see what happens!

Worried about how to fit it into your day? I now get up an hour earlier so I can do this when the rest of my household is still asleep. That’s what works for me, but you’ll have to find what works best for you.

It has to be personal. You have to own it to get the most out of it.

Here’s to your success … You CAN do it. Write on!


Michele Peterson

Michele Peterson is a direct response web copywriter, online marketing strategist, speaker, and coach. She draws on 20+ years of sales and marketing experience to help her clients tell their stories, engage their audience, and make more money. On a personal note, she’s the wife of a winemaker, baseball mom, back pain survivor, SF Giants fan, former cheerleader, gardener, master networker, tech geek, avid reader, and fan of all things Disney.

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