Imitation isn't only the sincerest form of flattery; it's also a powerful way to quickly learn new writing skills. Mark Twain learned how to write by imitating other writers. The great author, as a youth, used to set newspaper stories in type. This tedious printing process gave Twain the chance to imitate writers. As he slowly copied their stories, he became aware of the fundamentals of fine writing.
Steve Allen, the radio and television celebrity, learned how to write humor by copying jokes. Allen would go to the library, borrow some joke books, and then copy all of the jokes onto index cards. Because Allen had to copy each word by hand, he, like Twain, learned the subtle inner formula for writing.
How does imitation work such wonders? Easy. You probably drive a lot. Have you ever walked down a street you normally drive? Did you notice that you saw, heard, and learned a lot more about the street when you were on foot? When you slow down, you pay attention to all the wonderful things you normally miss. The same thing happens when you copy the greats. You suddenly become aware of what you normally never hear or see.
I tell people in my writing classes to take a story they love and copy it word for word. This exercise gives them the same experience
Mark Twain and Steve Allen got. By imitating great writing, you learn how to create great writing. It gives you something close to the same feelings the author probably had when he wrote the story. That's powerful.
You can imitate anyone in order to learn new skills. I've taught harmonica players to imitate great players by slowing down the recordings and copying each note they hear. And when I was 16 and wanted to be a writer, I imitated Jack London and William Saroyan until I understood how they wrote their masterpieces.
Reading and copying great writing is comparable to what an athlete does when he watches videos of other athletes. A skier watches expert skiers handle tough slopes; tennis players watch films of tennis champions; swimmers watch videos of legendary swimmers. All of these people are training their minds (and bodies) to record the pattern for creating success.
Writers can't watch videos of other writers and pick up what the authors are doing because writing is largely an internal experience. But if you pick up a piece of writing, something created by a master writer, and copy it, word for word, you begin to internalize the subtle intricacies used to create that writing.
Imitation isn't stealing (unless you try to sell the imitation). It's learning.
What I want you to do now is train your mind to create Hypnotic Writing. How? First, you have to find some Hypnotic Writing. Look around your room. What are the articles, letters, or books that have stuck with you over the years? What have you read recently that you could not forget? You might have read a novel, a short story, a letter, a direct mail advertisement, and even a memo. Collect examples of writing that you regard as hypnotic. Since this is a subjective judgment, there aren't any wrong examples. Just gather examples of writing that you think is excellent.
Now select something from your pile of examples. Anything. Now write out the example. That is to say, take out a pad of paper and a pen and actually copy, word for word, the example in front of you. Simply reproduce it in your own handwriting.
Yes, this will take a couple of minutes. But it is a priceless education! You will learn more about the delicate inner workings of writing than you ever imagined. In the same way Mark Twain learned about writing by setting stories in type, and Steve Allen learned about jokes by copying them from library books, you will learn how to write material that is unforgettable.
Look at the bright side of this exercise: It's free! And to help you along, here's my famous letter on Thought-line. It's considered Hypnotic Writing at its best. Later on you'll get to analyze this letter, but for now, just copy it in your own handwriting.
Exercise: Copy this letter in your own handwriting.
I've Finally Found the Secret to Make Writing Easy!
It's called Thoughtline and you better hang on to your hat because this new software program is awesome!
Imagine Socrates helping you with your next writing. After an exciting series of questions, Socrates hands you a rough draft of your article. You then use Socrates' outline to guide your writing. Before you know it, you're done!
This isn't fantasy. Thoughtline is a breakthrough "artificial intelligence" program designed to ask mind-stretching questions. But that's not all. Thoughtline then takes your answers and organizes them into a logical outline! With the outline in hand, you know where you are going. You no longer have to face that agonizing blank page.
The first time I used Thoughtline I was amazed at what happened. It asked me deep, probing questions, gathered my answers, looked them over, sorted them, and then developed an outline for me that made my eyes pop. I actually ran into the other room to show my wife what Thoughtline had created!
Would you like to have a "secret friend" help you create irresistible letters, articles, books, and presentations?
Thoughtline is now my writing companion. I use it to think through projects, develop rough drafts, brainstorm new ideas, and much more. Thoughtline has saved me time, effort, and money. When an idea I had wasn't sound, Thoughtline told me so. When I need help fast, Thoughtline is there.
With Thoughtline I have literally become more effective, intelligent, powerful, and prolific!
One friend of mine, a speaker, is going out to buy a computer just so she can use Thoughtline to help her develop talks that will make her audience sit up and take notice. Clearly she can see how valuable this is!
Can you imagine what you could write with Thoughtline at your fingertips?
This is the only program I endorse because it is the only writing tool that works! (Isn't that what counts?)
Mark Twain wrote, "A man's intellect is stored powder; it cannot touch itself off; the fire must come from outside." Thoughtline is the "fire" you need to make your mind explode!
You can now benefit from this "talking" program, too. Though it retails for $295, you can now get Thoughtline for only $169. (You save over $125!) And that includes all the disks, a great manual, postage and handling, attractive case and technical support (though you won't need the latter as the program is simple to run).
Just think: The amount of new material you write with Thoughtline will probably more than pay for the package!
You'll be writing everything you've ever dreamed of (and more) only moments after you ask Thoughtline for help!
But don't take my word for it. See for yourself. Just fill out the enclosed form and mail it with your check.
Then stand back. Your computer will soon come alive! Sincerely, Joe Vitale
Author, Turbocharge Your Writing Author, Zen and the Art of Writing Co-author, The Joy of Service.! Award-Winning Journalist
PS. If you don't send in your order I'll assume you don't have an IBM (or 100% compatible) computer with a hard drive. Because I know you would buy this program if you did! What person seeking breakthrough effectiveness in their writing wouldn't buy this program?!
PPS. Look. There's some writing you want to do but haven't started. Why wait any longer?
You have just fed your mind information on how to create Hypnotic Writing.
The more you read powerful writing, and the more you copy it out in your own hand, the more you will train your mind to write irresistible material. You can't do this exercise once and forget about it, however. Learning is eternal. You might want to set aside a time period every week so you can do nothing but teach your mind through the awesome power of imitation.
Sound too simple for you? Then keep one thing in mind: This one step could transform your entire ability to write material that walks, talks, and breathes!
If you want to know how to create Hypnotic Writing, then imitate people who are already doing it. When you copy their work, you begin to recognize how—and why—they got the results they achieved.
In the same way modeling a tennis player's form will help you become a better tennis player, imitating an excellent writer will teach you the form for excellent writing.
But don't take my word for it. Give the process a shot. Pick an example of terrific writing and write it out. You'll be amazed at what you will learn!
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