What Dancing with the Stars and Copywriting Have In Common: 5 Steps to Dancing with Words

Dancing and CopywritingUpon my return from Kaua`i to Colorado last year, I attended the 6th annual “Dancing with Boulder Stars” event. Given my love for dancing, at the end of the evening my immediate response was, “I want to participate in this event in 2013.”

On Oct. 17th I had the honor of dancing in the 7th Annual “Dancing with Boulder Stars.” While based on the same concept as the popular TV show, this performance was a fundraiser for the YWCA of Boulder County in Colorado.

Similar to the TV show, 7 “stars” from the local business community are matched with professional instructors and rehearse for 10 weeks.

I’m one of the few people you’ll meet who will admit that I LOVE DISCO. Having been a disc jockey & a disco dance instructor, back in “the good ‘ol disco days,” my first thought was, “I want to perform a disco number at the event.”

However, my instructor’s strength was in Swing so when she suggested we perform a side-by-side Charleston number, I thought “sure, I can do that.” We started rehearsing in July and met each week until the big night in October.

After months of hard work and a case of last minute jitters, I have to admit it was awesome. Imagine my surprise when I heard my name called out as the Judges’ Choice Award winner. Here’s our winning routine (I’m dancing on the right):

So what does this have to do with copywritng?

This experience was a great reminder that anything worth doing is worth the work it takes to get there. It’s no wonder that dancing and writing are two of my passions – it turns out they actually do have a lot in common.

Five “Steps” to Dancing with Words

1. Practice makes perfect. Whether you’re writing or learning the Charleston, the key is practice, practice, practice. You may not get it right the first time, but desire and persistence will get you where you want to go.

There were certainly times when I’d make mistakes and thought, “I’ll never get this step down,” but as you can see in the video – I did!

Practice writing every day. Like dancing, the more you do it, the better you get at it and the more comfortable you become.

“Make interesting mistakes. Make amazing mistakes. Make glorious & fantastic mistakes. Break rules and leave the world more interesting for you’re being here.”Neil Gaiman

2. Focus, focus, focus. The first time on the dance floor you may feel awkward. However, as you pay attention and focus on each step, with repetition you relax and it feels more natural. It’s the same with writing. That’s why I say, just write. Don’t censor yourself. Focus on putting the pen to paper (or your hands on the keyboard) and let the words flow.

3. You have to take risks. I love to dance, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t feel risky to dance in front of a crowd of hundreds, not to mention, a panel of judges! You have to be willing to take risks with your writing too. You’ll never know what works unless you put it out there in the world. Sometimes breaking the rules can make all the difference.

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anais Nin

4. Don’t be afraid to fine-tune. As I was working with my dance instructor, she would add new steps or new props to use in the routine. Sometimes they worked and sometimes they didn’t. She wasn’t afraid to say “that just doesn’t feel right” or “let’s tweak this.” Our goal was to adjust as needed in an effort to create the best performance possible by the time we reached the spotlight.

When you’re writing, don’t be married to every single word. Sometimes deleting a sentence or a paragraph can strengthen the content. So, don’t be afraid to fine-tune and if necessary, “delete your little darlings” as you edit your work.

5. Last but not least, follow your heart. Whether it’s writing or dancing, do what you love. Need I say more?

“My writing, like everything I do, comes profoundly from my heart. I believe that if you follow your heart you will be successful in one way or another. Old-fashioned as that might sound, the philosophy is true.” – Kim Elizabeth

So, what about you? Perhaps you haven’t been in “Dancing with the Stars,” but I’m sure there is something adventurous that you’ve done lately – in your life or in your writing. Please share your thoughts in the comment section. I’d love to hear from you.

Debra Jason

Marketing & writing with heart, not hype at at The Write Direction
A recipient of the “Creative Person of the Year” award, Debra educates and empowers creative solopreneurs and enthusiastic business owners to create a lifestyle business that provides them with the flexibility, fun and freedom to do what they love. She also inspires you to communicate your marketing message in a way that captivates and converts your prospects into loyal, raving fans - even if you have been struggling with how to transform your ideas into words in the past.

Comments

  1. Love the routine! You danced your heart out! I have no dance experience myself; however, after reading your comparison I can definitely see the likenesses.
    Stacey W. Brooks recently posted…Social Media Marketing – Is Pinterest Good for BusinessMy Profile

  2. Well done getting up there and dancing and congratulations for winning. I loved the video. They’re very good points that you bring up about copywriting and dancing. I never really thought of it that way.
    Alexandria Ingham recently posted…Is It Ethical to Outsource Your Work?My Profile

    • Alexandria, I don’t know that I ever thought of the similarities between dancing and copywriting until I performed in “Dancing with Boulder Stars.” Funny how inspiration shows up in our lives. Thanks. ~Debra

  3. You make such relevant parallels here between dancing and writing–thank you. I especially appreciate the one about following your heart. And I love disco too! Your performance with the Charleston is outstanding–can see why you got the Judges Choice Award!
    Gail Storey recently posted…Goodreads Giveaway of I PROMISE NOT TO SUFFER!My Profile

    • We’ll have to get out there on the disco dance floor and shake it up sometime soon Gail. Nice to know that writing & dancing are two passions we have in common. Thanks for stopping by, watching the video and sharing your kind thoughts.
      ~Debra

  4. What fun this must have been for you, Debra! I remember you mentioning this in another post but had no idea you were selected as one of the participants – nor that you won. Congratulations.

    Perhaps this is similar to your point #5, but I’d add passion. If you’re not truly excited and engaged in what you’re writing, it shows. The same holds true for selling something you don’t believe (which could be in the form or writing too). Trying to tackle something that doesn’t grab you (even if the excitement comes from getting imaginative with a dry topic) is too hard. On you, and your readers.
    Nanette Levin recently posted…Are you encouraging or repelling your best small business prospects?My Profile

    • Hi Nanette, it was FUN and hearing my name called as the Judges’ Choice Award winner, was the icing on the cake. Yes, I’d agree that coming from your heart and passion are closely tied to one another. When you’re passionate, I think coming from your heart is a natural progression.
      Thanks.
      ~Debra

  5. I loved your Charleston routine, Debra! How fun. Congratulations on your win. And you make great parallels between your two passions.

  6. Watching your routine made me smile – I can remember my Dad demonstrating the Charleston for me one day, when I was quite young (I’m 60). I am participating in NaNoWriMo this month (50,000 words in 30 days) and taking a few minute break – I am attempting to write my memoir and am passionate about trying to survive the 30 days with a first draft at the end of it!
    Alana ( recently posted…The Fall of the RosesMy Profile

    • Congrats on participating in NaNoWriMo Alana. Good luck with your memoirs. I recently came across two diaries that belonged to my grandmother from 1935 and 1937.
      I appreciate that you took time to read my post while taking a break from your own writing.
      Here’s to your writing success.
      ~Debra

  7. Congrats on the win! I actually don’t think I’ve done anything adventurous of late. Unless you count participating in the Ultimate Blogging Challenge (and I’m pretty sure that does not count lol).
    Cindy recently posted…Love is About the Person You LoveMy Profile

    • Thanks Cindy. One might consider the UBC an adventure. There are new peeps to meet, new ideas to share and new stories to read about every day.
      Enjoy.
      🙂
      ~Debra

  8. Congratulations Debra on your win! I am vicariously enjoying your victory. I haven’t done anything as adventurous but signing up for 3 different Challenges that together would help me reach a set of specific goals which are the sum of the main goal, I guess is more foolhardy than adventurous.

    • Doing something that encourages you to reach your goals is fabulous Vatsala.
      I’m pleased you’re living vicariously through me. However, if you want to be adventurous, why not take a dance class and learn something new? You never know how it might inspire you!
      Thanks
      🙂
      ~Debra

      • Debra, I think a clarification needs to be made. I wrote that I was vicariously ENJOYING my life through you.

        I am an accomplished Kathak dancer in my own right apart from knowing the dance forms of Tango and Salsa to name a few.

        I have enough hobbies which include ikebana and candle-making – the latter could have become a business but I was more interested in pursuing my own corporate career at the time.

        New things? My passion is now using my years of corporate experience, coaching skills and knowledge of the law to help with animal rights and women rights issues.

        Thanks.
        Vatsala Shukla recently posted…Is It Time for Me to find another Job?My Profile

        • Vatsala, I assumed you were ENJOYING your life! I had no idea you were so involved with dancing too. I love salsa (haven’t tried tango). No wonder we’re kindred spirits.
          I know you’re on a path to serving others and doing it with integrity and heart!
          Thanks again.
          ~Debra

  9. Hi Debra,

    The dancing was wonderful. I really enjoyed watching. I would have been just as happy to see disco, but there probably would not have been any fun props. Dancing and writing are my passions too. Sad to say, I don’t do them as much as I would like. Perhaps after seeing you, I’ll get out there more.

    Probably the most daring thing I have done of late is the blog challenge. I am so glad I did it. This I won’t stop doing. It gets me to write and it is very rewarding to receive the feedback.

    Keep up the good work!

    • Go for it Rochelle. After performing in “Dancing with Boulder Stars,” I decided that I am going to get out there and dance more. I take an exercise/dance class now, but I want to do more social dancing. I hope you’ll get out there more. And, congrats on doing the UBC. It is a great opportunity to share your wisdom while meeting awesome new peeps.
      🙂
      ~Debra

  10. From the looks of the video you were having a fabulous time:)

    Its amazing how when you love something you can’t help but reach for the stars.

    Will you do it again next year?
    Toni Nelson recently posted…4 Tips for reaching your goalsMy Profile

    • Toni, after dancing I said “I’d do this every years.” However, they try to get new “stars” each year. So, we shall see. There’s a chance I may able to do something to participate even if I’m not “competing.”
      Thanks.
      ~Debra

  11. Debra, you are one of my new superheroes. You look like you are really enjoying yourself and having the best time ever. And to top it off, an award???! I think my bravest moment so far has been doing an obstacle course where I ended by high jumping off a narrow pole. Dancing sounds wayy more fun. Congratulations and thank you for the great reminders!
    Tanya Smith recently posted…My Top 10 Favorite Modern Productivity Blogs And Why I Love ThemMy Profile

    • Gee thanks Tanya. How nice to fall into the “superhero” category! I did really enjoy myself and had the best time not only up there on the stage, but throughout the whole process (which started in July).
      I’ll agree that dancing sounds more fun to me than high jumping, but I commend you for doing that. I think I’d avoid an obstacle course like that.
      Thanks again! Here’s to your sweet success.
      🙂
      ~Debra

  12. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, YOU RADIATE JOY DEBRA! Not only is the video fun to watch, but the correlations to writing are excellent. I remember when I first started blogging I really struggled because I had “corporate speak” (read boring!) through all of my writing. It was really hard for me to “let loose.” I still fall into those patterns sometimes, but with practice I have gotten much better.

    • Aww, thanks Stephanie. It was such a joy to participate in the event. Not only did I get to do something I love, but I was helping a good cause at the same time. My instructor was a doll, the other “stars” were fabulous – we created a wonderful camaraderie and some of us will be getting together to go out dancing in the future.
      When you write, just write from the heart, which I know is something you can do because you have a big one (heart, that is)!
      Thanks again for your kind words.
      🙂
      ~Debra

  13. Great job Debra!!

    I see you have a lot of artistic talent in both dancing and writing. You were very clear in the similarities between the two.. I guess it is safe to say that we can apply your tips to all forms of art.

    Thanks for the post!! And Congrats!!
    Denise Marie Filmore recently posted…Build Your List with a Challenge [and Take Your Tribe on a Journey]My Profile

  14. Love the video Debra! You look to be in a place of great joy dancing! Beautiful! Dancing is an amazing way for spirit to express itself….<3
    Belinda Rose recently posted…A Prayer of GratitudeMy Profile

  15. Wow — I love the comparison, especially doing the work and focus. So true, and now that I think about it, applicable to many parts of life!
    Jessica recently posted…A Beginner&#8217;s Guide to Meditation: 4 Simple StepsMy Profile

  16. I love this! You are so right. Writing is a dance and we have to find our own beat as we explore what works for us and our readers. It takes the pressure off of getting it right!
    Minling recently posted…Keep dancing when life throws you a curveballMy Profile

  17. Great advice for anybody looking to achieve any goals at all I think! You have all bases covered there 🙂
    I shall certainly continue dancing my way along in my business. The 1920s era is a personal favourite of mine, I LOVE the dresses!
    Brilliant analogy of your work and dance, I adore that sort of this, it really makes things more memorable and fun.
    Thank you xox
    Helen Crosbie recently posted…10 things I love to do for FREEMy Profile

    • Helen, enjoy your dance. My instructor found those dresses in a vintage store.
      I’m glad you enjoyed the analogy between dance & writing. And yes, it’s good advice for many things that life brings our way.
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts here. Much appreciated.
      🙂
      ~Debra

  18. How fun! And congratulations. I love hearing about what you got out of dancing—I think your takeaways could fit with most anything that someone is trying to accomplish.

    And I just love your routine! Great post.
    Tracey Ceurvels recently posted…Tea-infused wine from Tattle Tea {New Discoveries}My Profile

    • It was not only fun to dance and participate in this fun event for a good cause, but it’s been really great to share it with others Tracey. Everyone has gotten a kick out of watching the video as well as appreciating the analogy I made between dancing and writing.
      Thanks for taking time to read & watch.
      😉
      ~Debra

  19. Mon amie! You FABULOUS dancing diva! I love this post, and your linking dancing to writing really resonates with me!! I adore both dancing and writing, and there is a rhythm and flow to it all… Great 5 tips!!! CONGRATULATIONS on your big win! Well-deserved!!!!!!! How fun!
    eyenie recently posted…Permanent Visual Aids, Planning with Flare & the Biz Benefits of Blue Hair: Women Living in NEON! Interview with Michelle Nicholaisen!My Profile

    • Merci mon amie. One of these days when you’re back in the U.S. we’ll have to go dancing Eyenie!
      Thanks for the congratulatory message. It was absolutely a blast to dance and it was fun to compare it with writing. So glad you enjoyed both the blog & the video.
      Merci beaucoup.
      🙂
      ~Debra

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