A Silly Mental Model That Makes a Better mail

Maybe you’ve heard it before:

“If it stupid, but it works. It ain’t stupid.”

And, perhaps you’ve also read this quote from Ernest Hemingway: 

“The only kind of writing is rewriting.”

Maybe ist’s true. Perhaps if we look back, the emails that our customers love are never born from our first draft. It takes layers of rewriting and revisions.

But rewriting is very challenging. Finishing just the first draft can take hours, and after that, we have to rewrite it again? And then again? Really?

The answer is yes.

So here’s some silly way to make rewriting more enjoyable, and make the email better at the same time.

You can use this model to write emails, blog posts, books, practically anything. But I primarily use it for writing emails, so my example here is based on drafting, and broadcasting email to all of my subscribers.

And I’m telling you, it’s not stupid. Far from it. But silly? Maybe.

Let’s jump in.

What you need to get started

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Photo by Madalena Veloso on Unsplash
  1. Your first draft. In this post, I assume that you are already finishing your first draft.
  2. Your laptop/ desktop and your smartphone.
  3. Three chairs. Place it in a triangle shape and make it facing each other.

That’s it. 

Wait, three chairs? For what?

The three chairs are representing the three sides of you as a writer.

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Imagine there are three people inside of you:

  1. The Writer.
  2. The Reader.
  3. The Editor.

The side of you that writing the first draft is The Writer. The one that is reading your email preview is The Reader. And the person that observes the interactions of The Writer and the Reader is The Editor, or, you can call it The Observer, it’s up to you.

This model will take out and utilized these three sides of, and in the end, will make you a better writer.

Let’s begin.

The 1-2-3 Model

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We’re going to break these sessions into five cycles:

The first cycle: Gather information

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  • Begin with placing the first chair near your writing desk or workspace. It’s better to have the first chair using your usual work chair.
  • Imagine getting out from your self as you stand out, and move slowly to the third chair. Be The Editor.
  • From The Editor’s perspective, imagine you see yourself in the first chair, and your reader in the second chair. I know it’s empty, but just imagine it, as clear as you can.
  • Picture The Writer that sits on the first chair, giving The Reader that sits on the second chair her first draft.
  • Observe the person that sits on the second chair or The Reader. What does she want to know from the email? What subject line that makes her open the email? What is the most exciting part of the email? What’s make her holding back and not doing any actions? What part of the email that gets The Reader bored? Etc.
  • Give this information to The Writer that sits on the first chair.
  • Done.

The second cycle: Rewrite

  • Back to the first chair, be The Writer.
  • Start rewriting your first draft based upon the information that you’ve got from The Editor.
  • Don’t try to correct your writing, just write.
  • It’s best to have a notebook and a pen in your work desk and jot down everything that you’ve got from The Editor before you start rewriting on your laptop.
  • Optional: print your second draft after it’s done.

The third cycle: Edit

  • Back to the third chair and once again be The Editor.
  • Bring your laptop to the third chair, or take the print out with you as The Editor
  • Read the second draft from The Writer carefully.
  • Check for misspelling, grammar, misplaced words, and all that stuff.
  • While you at it, look at for the words or phrases that difficult to understand for The Reader.
  • The most important thing. If you think the draft is good, send the email preview or test email. Most email marketing services like KIRIM.EMAIL, have this feature.
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The fourth cycle: Read

  • Put your laptop, take your smartphone, and sit on the second chair, be The Reader.
  • Read the email preview that you receive from The Editor from your smartphone.
  • Most of your readers will read your email from their smartphone, so reading the preview from your smartphone is a crucial step.
  • Read every word, click every link, act like you don’t know where the link goes.
  • The main question to ask is: What’s in it for me?
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The fifth cycle: Decide

  • Finally, sit on the third chair. Be The Editor for the last time.
  • Observe once again. Does The Writer successfully deliver the message to The Reader?
  • Will The Reader open the email? Understand the offering? And act according to what The Writer’s wanted?
  • If the answer is yes and yes, send your email to your subscribers.
  • If the answer is no, or you have doubts, repeat from the second cycle, and rewrite your draft for the third time.

You can repeat the cycles as much as you can. From my experience, the more you do it, the faster the cycles will become.

Sounds silly, indeed, will it work?

Yes, maybe it sounds silly and weird, this model is not new. 

Walt Disney is known to have three personalities inside His brilliant mind. In “Strategies Of Genius” by Rober Dilts, one of Walt Disney’s animator said that:

“…there were three different Walts: the
dreamer, the realist, and the spoiler. You never knew which one was coming into your meeting.”

Robert later called it three subprocesses: The Dreamer, The Realist, And The Critic.

Although the name and the jobs are slightly different from our model, generally, it’s the same principle.

The Dreamer will ask a question like: What do we create? 

Or, in our case, The Writer, what will we write today?

The Realist will ask a question like: How do we create it? 

Or, in our case, The Editor, how we’re going to present our email to The Reader? 

The Critic will ask a question like: Does it good? 

Or, in our case, The Reader, What’s in it for me?

All three of them will appear alternately inside Walt’s mind. Back and forth.

It’s your turn

Try it, see it for your self. I believe, as a writer, that our physiology has a much more significant impact for our creativity than what we imagine.

If you move your physics to different places when you writing, editing, and reading, you create a three different situation for your mind to process what you do. That maybe will create a better impact than if you only sit down on the same space.

And maybe, it will make you healthier too.

*) Featured Image by anSICHThoch3 from Pixabay .

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