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Always be learning

Not all of you know I play drums. Been doing it for the past 20+ years but less frequently in the last 5 or 6.

Lately I’ve been practicing more as I’ll be filling up for a Foo Fighters tribute band of friends.

I barely knew their top singles before getting into this, and I forgot how fascinating learning new songs is.

Recently most of my learning as been around knowledge. But when the body is fully involved in the learning process, something else is at play. And the power of your brain to put it all together feels even more astounding.

There’s one song in particular, “My hero” that encapsulates it. Listen to the first few seconds. The drum intro requires your hands to do one thing, your left leg to do another and the right leg to do yet another one.

The first time I tried it I actually didn’t even realize it involved the left leg at all, it’s subtle but makes the difference. The more you focus on listening, the more you get a clear picture.

But unless you try it, there’s no way your muscles will absorb and integrate the movements.

Initially I felt like a cripple. Every limb was going off on a tangent, out of control. Gradually everything came together nicely.

To the point that now it’s automatic.

How amazing is that?

One thing this made me realize is that it’s actually the same when you’ve been in research mode for 2/3 weeks or months depending on the project. Ideas start bubbling up, you start connecting the dots and you start absorbing and integrating the language your audience uses, almost automatically.

One of the reasons I think it’s hard for a copywriter to exclusively rely on his team to do the writing.

Because unless you immerse yourself in the research (and the actual subconscious practice that happens with it), you won’t be ready when it comes time to put words to the page.

This was also a great lesson in taking things step by step without rushing.

A lot of times I set a goal to write a first draft in one go, forgetting that the first one will likely be shit. And I get disappointed. That’s when you have to remind yourself that it’s only the first step and that you did good.

So this weekend if you’re learning anything new, just pay attention to the process and see if you can appreciate it. Step by step.

If you’re not learning anything, change that. Weekends are perfect for learning, no distractions, no demands. Just focus.

Want to learn some of what I do? I wrote a couple of posts for the friends at balsamiq, you can learn about wireframing here. Or feel free to pass it around to anyone who might find it helpful.

Have a good one.

brain dump?

Every day (yes!) I write about what I’m learning at my copywriting/UX desk ,with fun, insightful and quirky stories.

Let’s nerd about decision making, persuasion, habits, and conversion optimization.