My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way.
—Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961)
I'm considered the creator of Hypnotic Writing. While it's true that I wrote the first book on the subject (okay and the next seven ebooks on the subject), I have to confess that I learned how to write "hypnotically" from two unusual sources.
I used to read Jack London, Mark Twain, Shirley Jackson, and Ernest Hemingway and marvel at their ability to weave words in such a way that they moved me to laughter, fear, or tears.
How did they do that? We have access to the same alphabet and same vocabulary as those masters, yet they wrote classics and most of the rest of us write garbage.
What's up here?
Then, I would read sales letters by Robert Collier, or Bruce Barton, or John Caples and wonder how they used the same language but caused people to shell out their hard-earned money—often during tough economic times.
How did those famous copywriters do that? How did they write to persuade?
My obsessive curiosity led me to investigate both kinds of writing. I studied literature throughout college and for years afterward. I minored in English and American literature. I loved Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Jack London, Mark Twain, William Saroyan, and others.
I wrote fiction, plays and poetry, trying to adapt what I was learning and did pretty well at it. I was published a fair amount. And I saw a play I wrote, The Robert Bivens Interview, produced in Houston in 1979. It won an award, too, in the first Houston Playwrights Festival.
Years later, I studied copywriting. I read everything I could get my hands on, from in-print marketing books to out-of-print collectibles. The Robert Collier Letter Book changed my life. The works of John Caples opened my eyes.
I spent time practicing what I was learning, writing sales letters that sometimes bombed, but more often broke all records—some of them on the verge of being miraculous. My letter for Thought-line, an old DOS program, is still being talked about today. (You'll find it later in this book.)
The result of this foot in two worlds experience led me to create what I later coined "Hypnotic Writing."
That didn't happen overnight, of course. It took well over 20 years of cooking within me before the recipe was ready. And it wasn't until I had read the book Unlimited Selling Power before everything came together for me.
That's when I wrote a book that became the beginning of a movement. I used to sell that book in the back of the room at my talks in Houston, way back in the 1990s. That book later became my first e-book. It's now sold in the tens of thousands online. The title is Hypnotic Writing.
Generally speaking, Hypnotic Writing is any writing that holds your attention. Hypnotists call it a "waking trance" (which I explain in a minute). John Burton, in his advanced book Hypnotic Language writes: "All communication invites the receiver into a hypnotic trance."
Note he said invites a person into a trance. You can start writing something and bore people, which is a trance you don't want to invite people to experience.
You can start talking to someone and that will invite them into a trance, too, but if you are boring, their mind will not stay with you.
My definition of Hypnotic Writing is:
"Hypnotic Writing is intentionally using words to guide people into a focused mental state where they are inclined to buy your product or service."
The kind of writing I do in my business of copywriter and marketing consultant usually means I'm writing to sell. That means Hypnotic Writing is any writing that holds your attention long enough to get your money.
I don't mean that to sound blunt. I'm a results oriented kind of guy. I think you want to know how to write to sell, too, else you wouldn't be reading this book.
So let's be honest with each other. You want to know how to write the kind of words that make people buy your product or service. You aren't trying to start a cult or sell snake oil. You believe in your product or service. You want to help people and you want to make money as you do.
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