“I’ve recently noticed a little ‘quirk’ in your writing style,” Charlie Byrne mentioned to me the other day. “It’s a particular ‘thing’ you do a lot. Not necessarily bad, but now that I noticed it, I see it a lot!”
My bad habit? Starting sentences with “And.”
I probably have other bad habits when it comes to my writing. But this one was starting to take over. In fact, it was starting to detract from the messages I was trying to convey. It’s like noticing that a speaker says “um” a lot – and once you’re fixated on that, you stop listening to the important things he has to say.
If all your reader can see when she reads your sales letters is “And” – or whatever your particular tic may be – there’s no way you can make the sale.
Perhaps you overuse exclamation marks. Or you rely too heavily on ellipses. Or you use certain phrases repeatedly. Here’s how to weed them out: Just have a third party read through your sales letters. She’ll be looking at them with fresh eyes, which will make it easy for her to pinpoint the words or phrases you use too often. Then go back through the sales letter and eliminate 95 percent of the offending element.