Do you have a swipe file yet? A collection (real or digital) of all your favourite pieces of copy. Text written by you. Text written by others. Copy that grabs your eyeballs, drags them down the page and leaves you in a ‘I-must-have-this-immediately' buying frenzy. But also copy that makes your toes curl, teeth itch and shoulders shrug.

Dissecting sales copy, blog posts and emails is a curious pastime, but one that helps me be a better writer. By taking a chunk of writing and analysing how it makes me feel and the way it does that, I learn far more than I could on a course or from a textbook.

When the words just won't flow, a swipe file of eyeball-grabbing, engaging, emotive copy is all the inspiration you need.

Stupidly Simple Swipe-File Starter Guide

Step 1 - Create Folders
Start your collection today by creating two new email folders. I like to call mine ‘Copy Rocks' + ‘Copy Sucks'.

Step 2 - Digging For Gold In Your Inbox
The next time you are clearing out your inbox (or are you one of those freakishly organised people that always has an empty inbox?), instead of just hitting the delete key on every email, save some of the best and worst examples. If you want to add a comment to remind yourself what you loved/loathed about the text, forward the email to yourself and type in the space above the forwarded email.

Step 3 - Saving Treasures From The Internet
Find a good example online? A sales page? A blog post? Email that to yourself too and add your own notes to the email.

Want To Be A Better Writer

Eager to upgrade your writing? There's no need to spend big. You can learn from the masters on these free writing courses, or keep if you prefer lessons you can hold in your hand, take a look at my favourite writing books.