Here’s what I’ve learned from 20 days of 100+ Headlines

Everything you can steal from my big, dumb adventure without doing the work

20 Days in, my friend. 1/5th done. 2,072 lines written.

And I gotta say, the goal is starting to feel achievable. The writing is becoming routine. I may just be dumb enough to pull this off.

Now, that doesn’t mean there aren’t days I want to hide under my desk, crack open the whisky, and drink ‘til the room spins—but they’re more spaced out and far less crippling…

…And the headlines aren’t always the cause of it.

I’ll try to make this recap more reader-friendly than last time. This, I’m afraid, is also part of the learning process.

I’m open to suggestions, by the way. Tell me what you’d like to know more about. Ask and you shall receive.

Daily recaps below. Lessons learned at the bottom.

10 Posts About Super Random Topics

11. Duracell – Yup. I wrote about batteries. And I liked it! I’ve never written much for consumer products but I could get the hang of this. I don’t know that I totally hit the mark but some may be close. Top lines include:

  • Life is better when the remote works
  • Remember the nerdy kids in A/V club? They all work here now.
  • Now the dark is afraid of flashlights

12. Divi – I’m a big fan of this WordPress theme builder. I’ve recommended it to people, and essentially, I broke those referrals into a few recyclable themes. I relied on the templates a little more than I’m proud of, but they worked.  My favorite line was:

  • Build a gorgeous website. No experience necessary

Ajay chimed in & commented with: Divi is the theme that enables you to create any website. If that doesn’t sum it up perfectly, I don’t know what does. The limitation to this project is that I work so quickly, I don’t have time to polish the lines. (But I want credit for the assist, Ajay!)

13. Sourced – This is a personal assistant agency run by a friend of mine and I’m proud to support her. It was motivating to know exactly who I was helping here. That’s why I dive deep with clients before I start their projects. The best lines here came from my head—which is a repeated theme with working on subjects I know. Top lines:

  • You know all those little things you’ve been meaning to do? We do them for you.
  • When you’re so busy you forget to eat, you need help.

Raise your hands if you’ve done that second thing before.

14. Used Book Store –This was my first attempt writing for a retail store. I bounced around with what they sell vs. the experience of being in the actual location. It went OK. No homeruns, but a good On Base Percentage. The owner gave it a “like” on Twitter. I have to imagine there was much confusion when she saw it. Favorites include:

  • Every book tells a story. Used books tell two.
  • Like Barnes & Noble, only small, local & not run by a corporate conglomerate.
  • You’re not shopping for used books. You’re hunting for buried treasure.

15. Travel Points – Uggh. I’d like to pretend this one never happened. I took an existing piece of my content and created new headlines for it. 100% template based. All plug & play. It felt cheap, dirty, and uninspired. I hated this one.This is how BuzzFeed makes money. Gross.

16. Funky Socks – I needed something light. I’m a sock guy, so I took my 3 favorite sites & went to townI got to write with personality! I wrote 60 lines without even touching the template. The synapses were firing and it was the first day I felt real progress with the process.
Can I get a high-5?

17. The Kug – Yeah, this was a weird one. It’s a self-heating cup. A Kettle/Mug. Great idea, but no audience data. I don’t know if I nailed it, but I think it went well. I had trouble relating because it’s not a product I’d use. Not a coffee guy. Good-but-not-great lines include:

  • We made a kettle cup for people with arthritis. Turns out, everyone likes it.
  • Who knew a little thing like a cup with a heater could make your life so much better
  • Your cup is lava

18. BevBuckle – All the rednecky goodness you can handle. And I say that with love because I proudly own one of these. It’s a belt buckle you fold down to hold your beer. You may have seen it on Shark Tank. My super-terrific wife bought me one. I popped it on for inspiration while I wrote—and the fun came fast & furious. 61 lines written before touching the template. One of my favorite posts to date. Booya.

  • The perfect accessory for beer bellies
  • Prepare to have your crotch all over Facebook
  • The BevBuckle doesn’t encourage fun & debauchery. It just happens.

Got a like from the company on Twitter. I’ll take it.

19. CitiKitty – Strangest post yet. It’s a toilet training aid for cats. Another Shark Tank item, and it seems to be doing really well. I sifted through tons of Amazon reviews for inspiration. Overall, I think I did just OK. I used too many formulas. It didn’t feel unique.

  • I trained my cat to use the bathroom. Now if I can just get my husband to put the seat down…

20. Caffeinated Aftershave – I use this product, which is proving essential for nailing the lines. And I hardly touched the template until the very end. That’s not to say I didn’t use lines in the free-flow writing, but I wrote from memory. The process is becoming ingrained.
Too soon to ask for another high 5?

  • You’re less irritating when you’ve had your caffeine. So is your razor
  • Wow. Caffeine really does make everything better.

Also, the company tweeted me back. Yay engagement!

The Lessons. The Good Stuff. The Meat & Potatoes of Learning.

  • I’m starting to catch more typos when I look at older posts. I don’t have proper time to edit, tweak and perfect each one because speed is a factor here. That’s the downside to each challenge. Overall, it’s not a huge deal. But it bothers me.
  • I’m also finding that I like each post a lot more when I look back. There were several I felt were pure drivel as I wrote them. Now, they’re not so bad. Some are even pretty darn good.
  • I write in 2 sessions now. Either a 50/50 or 60/40 split. Sometimes I divide a post over 2 days, so I’m finishing today’s and starting tomorrow’s. Doesn’t always happen, but it’s nice when it does.
  • I thought about whether I’d be better off focusing on 20 great lines. The thing is, I’d still need to write about 100 to find them. Maybe more. It’s all about editing. And I often stumble upon a great theme late in the game. So 100 it is.
  • Your comments & notes are so flippin’ motivating. A great big thank you for anyone and everyone who has reached out.
  • I realized that I tagged the original posts wrong. Oops. I went back and corrected that. If anyone has tips on how to do that better, please let me know.
  • I’m getting better at free-flow writing. No editing, just letting my brain go nuts.
  • Surprise bonus! I’m learning what products and companies I may (and may not) want to focus on in the future. #KnowYourNiche
  • Good lines come when I put myself IN the context. When I visualize myself before/during/after using whatever I’m writing about. I try to take it as far as I can. I like it. It’s been interesting to experiment with. Ain’t no template gonna teach me that.
  • This recap is as difficult to write as the posts. This one is late because, frankly, I needed to rest my brain.
  • I also needed to prioritize some client work.
  • The project is taking a toll on work/life balance. I owe my wife and kids something huge when this is done.

OK, back to the grindstone. I still have 100 lines to write.

Taco Lips rhymes with Apocalypse

P.S. Have something you’d like me to write about? Hit me up! Let’s see what we can work out.