An Effective (but Embarrassing) Way to Develop Elite Copywriting Skills with Mini Habits

An Effective (but Embarrassing) Way to Develop Elite Copywriting Skills with Mini Habits

Reader Comments (26)

  1. I respectfully disagree with Godin and the author. One paragraph or 50 words won’t do it. A few pages or an hour or two a day will. Reason: ANYONE can write a paragraph or 50 words. You need to be able to write at least 500 coherent words (e.g., essay, article, blog post) to develop your skill. By way of my credentials for saying this, I am the author of 89 published books, publish a twice-weekly e-newsletter with 65,000 subscribers, and earned six figures annually from my writing for more than 3 consecutive decades.

    • I agree, Bob. Becoming proficient at anything requires more than a minimal time investment.

      I think what Stephen is recommending here is a way to get out of inertia and do something that will get you started.

      Once you’ve established a habit — even a tiny one — you can build on it by adding time, length, and complexity.

      Thanks for stopping by: it’s always good to see you here!

    • Bob, you said it yourself.

      “ANYONE can write a paragraph or 50 words.”

      That’s it. That’s the key to consistency. Your spectacular productivity has resulted in great success, but very few others can do that starting out. Right now, many people have tried to do exactly what you suggest and are inconsistent (or have quit) as a result. It only works for those who already have a strong work ethic.

      I’m lazy by nature, so I have to use strategies like this to get going and stay consistent. And like the article says, 50 words a day is not a ceiling. Small goals don’t hold you back—that’s like saying a spark holds back fire—they only guarantee that you start.

      You said 50 words a day isn’t enough. It has worked well for me and many others. With the 50 words per day goal, I’ve improved my writing skills and have written both of my books. My first two books have sold approximately 150,000 copies worldwide across several languages. I make six figures, too. My friend Jeff Barnes wrote the Disney self-help book he’s always wanted to write because he read Mini Habits. He has been getting lucrative speaking deals all over the country talking about his book. Countless others have gotten in shape or applied the concept in other ways. There’s more than one path to success, and this is the one that many need and few recognize.

      You don’t need a mini habit for writing, but perhaps you could benefit from the strategy in another area of your life. It’s more powerful than it looks at first glance. Consistency is everything! Best of luck and continued success to you!


  2. I am completely in agreement with your idea of “mini goals”. I used to preach about “Taking massive action!” but over the last few years, I’ve changed that to “take consistent action”.

    My blog is focused on helping stay at home moms, who notoriously have little time to work on their business, and when they do have a minute, the last thing they want to do is “TAKE MASSIVE ACTION!!!” It was because I had so many people asking me “How do I stay motivated to take all this action?” that I started rethinking my ideas, because as you said, it’s not motivation that makes you write, it’s consistency, where that writing becomes a habit because “This is what I do.”

    Then, I read a post on Reddit (of all places) on “No Zero Days” and it completely turned me around. The idea is the same as yours – you don’t have to move the sun and moon every day, but you have to do something. Even if you only write one paragraph, don’t go to bed without writing something every day. It works – because you start building that consistency, that discipline, those habits.

    I’ve written something every day for over 2 years now. I’m proof the theory works.

    Now, I’m off to do that push-up 🙂

    • I’ve read that “no zero days” post as well. It’s good.

      The reason I love the mini habits concept is that it enables massive action too! The strategy is based on getting you started and letting your current motivation take you as far as you can go. One day when my goal was 50 words, I ended up writing 5,000.

      Congratulations on your consistency! I’ve written every day for about 2.5 years now (since starting my writing mini habit).

  3. Wow, excellent advise, I’m just starting learning everything I can about copywriting. thanks for the post and please continue doing so.


  4. I’m an editor/writer myself, but I have to say that I am more interested in how to apply this to my musical career, specifically achieving my goals in terms of the instrument I play. You intrigue me. I shall give it a try.

    It’s a given that I will try applying this to my editing and writing.

  5. As a person who has enrolled in too many courses – I think your mini habit is the answer – instead of looking for big blocks of time to dedicate to them – I can set a 15 minute time limit for each course a day and then tackle them slowly but steadily. [While not adding anymore until they are finished – I love to learn but at some point you are right what’s the point if we don’t take the time to apply what we are learning.]
    This will also free up some organized time to read and to write for my blog.
    Thank you for this great idea (overwhelm relaxed for the moment).

    • For my Mini Habit Mastery course, I recommend that students watch one video per day. Many people who buy courses don’t even go through them! The videos are only 5-10 minutes long, so it’s easy to watch one per day and finish the course.

      You’re saying you do a good job of viewing courses but want to apply the advice? For that, you can set small related goals and even cycle them.

      Say you have 4 courses you’re taking. You can create 1-4 mini habits for one course and do those for a month or two. Then create 1-4 new ones for the next course for a month or two. There are a lot of ways to go about it!

  6. This is simple without being simplistic. Thank you. This is a timely post for me because Ive felt I lost my writing voice and have been feeling somewhat…intimidated by sitting down to write, fearful that a whole lot of nothing will come out. Mini habits are a GREAT way to get unstuck and just get into the flow of consistent writing – regardless of what comes out. It seems like a good way to develop and maintain a screaming work ethic that forms the foundation for “inmost to become the outmost” [Emerson, paraphrased]. Very grateful to you for sharing this without insulting the reader’s intelligence. That in itself is a skill!

    • You said: “It seems like a good way to develop and maintain a screaming work ethic that forms the foundation for ‘inmost to become the outmost'”

      Yes, it is. The results for me have been life-changing, not just in my success, but in my productivity, work ethic, and identity. I’m confident that a mini habit can pull you out of your writing rut.

      Thanks for reading this one, Idellah!

  7. 50 or 500 words, doesn’t matter. Or does it?
    Consistency, some are consistently bad.
    The old adage, beginning, middle, end. You start with the introduction. Outline the point to be discussed. Raise the question, as well as hooking in the reader. Then you get to the body of the point under discussion. Pros, cons, evidence for and against.
    Then the conclusion, a summing up. The re-emphasis of the point being made.
    And do this without waffle or padding, adding words simple to sound important.
    (See first line).

    • Thanks for sharing that. Do you use that formula for everything you write?

      Technique matters, but only if you’re doing the work, and many people do not. If aiming for 500 words daily instead of 50 words daily means you write less and less often (and yes, this is going to be the case for many people), then it does matter.


  8. Stephen,

    Casey Neistat says the same thing. If you want to win, do something you love, and do it every single day. It was such a charming message for me. Here I come across the similar thing. I really feel pumped up right now.
    If someone asks me to tell two keys to success, I’d say 1) Pursue the Passion, 2) Be Consistent. Being a blogger, I know it sometimes makes you a little frustrated (especially when you don’t see the expected results), but ultimately being a learner I found a way around, either I publish a successful blog post or I learn a lesson to not to repeat those mistakes again. I’ve landed clients, guest post opportunities, and sponsorships by just believing in what I do. I’m glad you wrote this piece.

    • That’s great, Hassan. It’s wonderful when it positively spirals into a virtuous cycle.

      Regarding passion, I think success and consistency usually generate passion, and more so than the other way around. It’s a bit different than what most say, but it’s been my experience and makes sense. Dilbert creator Scott Adams has said he sees it this way as well. What do you think?

      • I agree with you. The success is something that belongs to consistency. In fact, what I have seen in successful people is, they do their work and cross all the bridges and reach the point of no-return. And there, they found success. I observed this and I applied it. Now after five years, I’m feeling that I took the right step.

  9. This post boost my inner spirit. Your article gives hope to some people like me, who sometimes gets frustrated and just starting to develop some new skills. It’s a great reminder that as long as you are taking action towards your goal, no matter how small, you’ll definitely get there. Similar to what Tony Robbins said “Repetition is the mother of all skill.” You’ve done it so I think it’s true. Thank you for your encouraging words.

    • You’re welcome, Margarita. I think everyone sees improvement when they start aiming for progress rather than perfect, clean, impressive chunks of success.

  10. I love this! Two years ago I incorporated a daily green smoothie into my life. It takes me less than five minutes each morning, and it worked because it was an easy thing to add into my day, so it’s become a habit. You’ve inspired me to see what other mini habits I can add to my routine. Thank you!

  11. Thanks so much for the article. Finally I see why setting monthly or yearly goals aren’t enough. It’s setting mini habits that bring success – in any area of life. I’m feeling pumped.

    • You’re welcome, and thanks for reading. One thing I like to say is that you can have impressive goals and embarrassing results or embarrassing goals and impressive results. 😛

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