Last August I spent one hour every day writing out old sales letters by hand.

I condensed my 9 main learnings in this blog post here.

It was a slog. But I liked that, in a grim, “grindy” kind of way.

But it didn’t escape my notice that my time might have been spent more efficiently some other way.

Today, I got an email from Danavir Sarria of CopyMonk titled: The death of copying sales letters by hand.

He made the case that this practice is a load of hype, that you don’t learn nearly enough from it, given how much time it takes.

It sounded like he was just “throwing rocks for the sake of it” until I read:

All of the barriers that would have stopped you from applying your skills in the real world so you can learn useful, practical knowledge even when you’re fresh newbie are now gone.

His point clicked.

 

He meant: This hand-copying thing is well known because the current copywriting legends did it because it used to be very costly to do the better thing (apply your skills against the marketplace from the start).

 

(Not Dan Kennedy, but close enough.)

 

I saw in my mind a 20 year-old Dan Kennedy, doing his morning copying drills with hungry focus. Nothing’s around him on his wooden desk but stacks of paper and a phone.

It would make sense for him to spend time doing these drills. Testing any writing against the real markets was costly.

In the 21 Century, however, you can put something up for free, and drive attention to it for cheap.

 

So – as Danavir suggests – a better way to hone your copywriting skills is to use the great sales letters of yonder-year as models for you to use in your client work.

I’m not sure I’m totally on his side.

Hand-copying sales letters does something good… just not the most good you could possibly do with your time.

 

Do you have any thoughts as to what might hone your copywriting skills even better? (Think of a repeatable routine anyone could squeeze into their morning.)

– JAMES