The hall laughs.

I blush.

I don’t laugh along – because the hall laughs at me. I misspoke. What came out of my mouth was a funny mixture of what I was thinking and what I wanted to say.

The hall thinks it’s funny. I don’t.

Slips of the tongue on a stage are always embarrassing.

And yet I keep going on stages. And yet I always dare to go in front of people. I’m afraid to make mistakes, and yet I do what I do.

And that’s what this is all about.

Are you afraid of making mistakes?

I’ll be honest: I’m afraid of making mistakes. I’m afraid of no one liking my writing. I’m afraid that my clients will reject an ad copy. I’m afraid that a “hater” will post a nasty comment under my blog.

Just yesterday, I embarrassed myself in front of a client. I sent him not the finished version, but the draft. The client thought it was the finished version and criticized the text.

Not a good feeling…

The fear of making mistakes always sits on my shoulders and whispers in my ear: you can’t do it, you won’t make it, the others are better than you.

Athletes are afraid of tournaments – and still go out on the field.

Authors are afraid of publishing – and still go to the publisher.

Bloggers are afraid of rejection – and still push the publish button.

Fear is not a bad thing. Fear is normal. Fear is everywhere.

But there’s one thing you need to learn today. I’m learning this lesson myself all the time:

Do what you fear.

Don’t wait until the fear is gone and you feel brave enough. Don’t wait until you feel “good enough” to write your book. Don’t wait until someone gives you permission to be an author.

Because that moment will never come.

You will wait yourself into the grave.

Be afraid and do what you fear. Act even though you are afraid.

Write even though you feel insecure. Write even though your parents said you have no talent. Write even though you didn’t go to college.


Fear has the ability and to paralyze. That’s why we writers need to fight that fear. Not just in our heads, but with actions.

Only when you do what you fear will fear give way. Only when you act can you conquer fear.

And that’s why I write texts that are not perfect. That’s why I write texts that some people don’t like. That’s why I write “bad” texts.

But I write – and publish.

By writing bad texts, I learn a lot. Here are my most important lessons:

1) I know what doesn’t work.

I haven’t failed. I’ve figured out 10,000 ways it doesn’t work.

– Thomas Edison

It took Thomas Edison an infinite number of tries to finally find the right material for the light bulb.

Each failure was not a defeat for him. Instead, he made a check mark on his long list, “Okay, so this doesn’t work either…”

Gutenberg had to find the right alloy for his letters. He went broke. He took on debt after debt and died a poor man. But today, we owe him the dawn of the new millennium.


With every bad text, I find a new way that doesn’t work. I try a new headline – I see the readership drop.

I try a different text structure and hear from readers, “Your text is cluttered.”

With every bad text, I get one step closer to good text. Click to tweetAm

I devastated?

No, I learned something.

# Reading Tip: Learning Creative Writing2

) I don’t know when the gold treasure will comeA


digger set out one day to search for gold. Highly motivated, he dug his first hole. He dug and chopped for all he was worth.

But after 9,999 shovels he gave up. Yet the gold treasure was perhaps only one shovel away. Or two shovels or ten?

The fact is, we’ll never know.

Why? Because the gold digger gave up.

If I stop writing, I’ve already lost. Click to TweetI

don’t know how far away my “big break” is. You don’t know either. Maybe your breakthrough is only 5 bad texts away. Maybe 100.

Either way,

if you stop writing, you’ll never know


# Reading Tip: 3 Ingredients for a Great Writing Style3

) I Belie

veI believe

that nothing is in vain. I believe that you must first sow in order to reap. I believe that nails are not small things.

If you want to build a house, you need nails. They’re these little pointy things made of steel. Small stuff, actually. But you can’t do it without them.

My first blog posts reached maybe three people. But those three people were worth it. It was not in vain.

My first blog posts were bad, but they were not in vain.

Nothing is in vain.

It’s just sometimes it doesn’t have the effect we want it to have.

# Reading Tip: Creating a Blog – The Ultimate Guide4

) I don’t take off like AladdinThe


is great: when a text really hits home and wows readers, the temptation is great to become arrogant


The temptation is great to take off and act like Aladdin, who pretended to be a grand prince – in reality he was just a street urchin.

Bad lyrics and defeats always bring me back down to earth. And that’s a good thing.

Because one important quality in a writer is humility. You need humility to learn. You need humility to accept criticism properly.

Bad writing is an anchor and keeps me from becoming an arrogant pig.

# Reading tip: The best marketing books5

) I stay hungry like a wolfI

hate it when people philosophize over a cream pie and complain about the poor quality of the cherries.

Such people are full. They are overfed. They are stuffed.

Such people do not eat dry bread or half-finished potatoes.

I don’t want to be one of them.

I don’t want to be one of those writers who can criticize everything but bake nothing themselves. I want to stay hungry. When I feel that everything is perfect, then I become full. Then I become complacent.

Bad writing helps me stay hungry. Hungry for more. Hungry for personal growth and hungry for criti


Show me a contented man – and I’ll show you a failure.

– Thomas Edison

# Reading tip: What you can learn from the grandmaster of advertising David Ogilvy6

) There’s no arguing about tasteMany

texts are a matter of taste. So whether a text is good or bad depends on whether it appeals to the reader’s taste.

If a reader doesn’t like my text, then the text is not automatically bad. Maybe the reader is simply not the target group. Maybe the text was not intended for him at all.

So if you know who you’re writing for, you should know their tastes.

Are you writing for bankers, doctors, or lawyers? Or are you writing for Harry, Dick, and Jane from the newsstand next door?

If your writing is being criticized, then you need to change the flavor – or the audience.

I recently wrote a newsletter to which I got two responses:

  1. “Please sign off. I don’t like that sort of thing.”
  2. “Delightful. I’ve never read such a great newsletter.”

Same text. Different flavor.

So don’t let that put you off if you don’t meet everyone’s taste.

But if you don’t meet anyone’s taste, then you should worry.

# Reading tip: The best quotes about writing7

) Pain is part of growthBefore

a tree can grow, the seed must first die. It has to break open and germinate. This breaking open hurts.

We humans are no different. We writers are no different.

Some writers (bloggers, copywriters, novelists, whatever) want to grow – but without pain.

Some writers want successful blogs, but no sleepless nights.

It doesn’t work that way.

We can’t grow without pain. That’s why I accept the pain. I accept it. I don’t try to avoid it.

If you want to grow as a writer, seek out the pain. Click to TweetFind

a stage to embarrass yourself on. After 10 embarrassments, the first success will come.

Without embarrassments, nothing will come.

#Reading tip: 26 remedies for writer’s block8

) I’ll never be readyI

know numerous people who are waiting for the perfect moment. When I want to visit them, I just go to the local cemetery.

Because if you wait for the perfect moment, you’ll wait yourself into the grave.

If I tweaked, twisted and corrected my writing until it was perfect, you’d never read a line of mine in your life. Because nothing is perfect.

So if all you want to do is write and publish perfect texts, here’s what you’ll publish: Nothing.

My Content Terminator had some typos in the first edition and the layout was shot in some places.

Still, I published the book.

And still I earned more than 10,000 Euros with it.

With the second – corrected – edition already even more.

Conclusion: Don’t wait for perfection. Go out. And correct along the way.


Reading tip: Writing an e-book in just 7 days9

) I

never lose “I never lose. Sometimes I win, sometimes I learn. “

This quote sums it


When I write a bad text that

ends up in the trash can, then I haven’t lost.

I have learned. I learned to write (Here are 5 exercises to improve your writing style). I learned to string sentences together. I learned to move my fingers.

Writing is still best learned by writing.

Especially writing headings.

You never lose. Unless you stop writing. Click to tweet10

) Haters gonne hateMakers

will always make. Haters will always hate. So what?!

Sometimes it’s not the text. Sometimes it really is the recipient.

A book is a mirror. If a monkey looks in, certainly no apostle will look out.

– Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

So don’t be put off.

You should always listen to constructive criticism. Always listen to suggestions for improvement. Always listen to the opinions of others.

But ignore the haters, the haters. They just want to hate. Let them. That’s usually the only thing they know how to do.

Write, fall down, get up, adjust the crown, continue writing.

And don’t let fear of haters stop you.

# Reading tip: 5 places to stick your criticsGo

now and write bad copyNow


see how good and liberating it can be to write “bad” copy


Go now and write “bad texts”.

Be imperfect.

Be unfinished.

But write.

No one can stop you then – except yourself.

Be great, write great,



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