The next book is “Be a Successful Writer: 99 Surefire Checklists” by Gordon Wells. After hearing about “The Checklist Manifesto” and the incredible effectiveness of lists, I've started putting together my own lists, so the title jumped out at me. Unfortunately, this book is mostly about writing for publication, not commercial writing. But there are still a few techniques I can apply to any kind of writing.
This section has most of the lists that are useful to me as a copywriter. It's all about laying the foundations for successfully selling your work, and the first list is how to get your first piece into print. This is extremely important. Once you have something in print, you can use it as a sample, you gain confidence from others' approval, and it makes getting your next assignment easier, even if you'll be switching markets.
After this, you need to take yourself seriously, because if you don't, who will? And you need to write every day. Time and again I've seen the advice “just write,” and when I've written every day for extended periods it helps in a lot of ways. If you've ever been intimidated by a word count, just write a minimum number of words, say 300, every day. You could do more, but 300 is the minimum. At the end of the exercise, you'll find yourself producing significantly more without a noticeable increase in effort. I've also found this to be true in other areas such as exercise or diets.
A few other things that I have found unique to this book are the exercises for warming up each day and keeping a writer's notebook. The warmup suggestions aren't for copywriters, but they are easily adapted. I will be doing them in the future not only to get started each day, but also as an aid for writer's block.
As for the writer's notebook, I think it will be much more useful for fiction writers, but I still use my phone to keep track of ideas. Since I'll be receiving assignments rather than choosing subjects, it's much less likely I will stumble upon a good idea by chance.
This book also has a great section on polishing (editing), which I'll use in the future. It's only two pages, so I won't get frustrated before the end and skip things to finish the editing stage. It also has a reminder not to polish too much, so things don't get too dull and dampen your enthusiasm. The author also followed this advice with the list itself.
A good checklist is as hard to make as a poem, since there's so much you need to say in such a short space. This book had tips for conquering writer's block that I hadn't seen before, and I'll keep them in mind as well if and when I have writer's block. Except maybe the recommendation to get “a large slug of something strong and alcoholic.” Yes, that's really in there, but it'll end up causing more problems than it solves.