SD #21: Let's Write a Swimming PoolNov 22, 2022
Let's Write a Swimming Pool
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Read Time: 6.0 minutes
Somebody said to me, ‘But the Beatles were anti-materialistic.’ That’s a huge myth. John and I literally used to sit down and say, ‘Now let’s write a swimming pool.’ We said it out of innocence. Out of normal, @#$%-ing working-class glee that we were able to write a ‘swimming pool.’ For the first time in our lives, we could actually do something and earn money.
— Paul McCartney, Interview with Rolling Stone, February 8, 1990
What did Paul McCartney and John Lennon mean when they said, "let's write a swimming pool"? They meant that they needed to expand their thinking from just writing a song, to writing something that was so successful, they could afford a swimming pool. They also knew they had to really think about what their fans wanted in order to accrue greater sales. They were definitely on the right track, because one of the toughest parts of being a content creator is getting out of your own head and routine way of thinking, especially on a deadline or under pressure.
We've been there. We bet you have, too.
Let's say you want to create a new lead magnet to boost signups for your email list. You've decided to write a short eBook. But when it comes to choosing a topic, you hit a brick wall. You're stuck. You shoot down each idea that comes up.
A piece of you wishes you had a colleague down the hall to brainstorm with. But as a solopreneur, that option no longer exists. Sure, you can text a friend or message someone on LinkedIn. But you're stuck NOW...you need perspective NOW.
How can you generate perspective on demand? Well, for the answer, we'll turn back to two of the great "content creators" in history: the songwriting duo of John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
In the mid-1960s, Beatlemania was just taking off. Lennon and McCartney had mounting pressure to keep writing great, chart-topping songs. So, they decided to get out of their own way...get out from under the pressure of success...and use this idea of "writing a swimming pool" to keep things fresh and imaginative.
What’s the Tip?
Today's tip is simply this: To get out of your own way as a content creator, sometimes you have to get out of your own head. The idea of let's write a swimming pool helps you do this.
A swimming pool costs a fair chunk of change. So, if you're going to create content that's successful enough for you to buy a pool, that content needs to meet the demands of your audience.
How Do You Use It?
Let's get back to our eBook example, where you're trying to create a lead magnet to generate signups for your email list. You're at an impasse. You're still shooting down every idea that pops into your head. Let's write a swimming pool nudges you away from considering ideas that you may or may not like to considering ideas that your audience may or may not like. For example, the Beatles were keenly aware of who their audience was in the early to mid-1960s (think screaming girls from the Cavern Club in Liverpool or Shea Stadium in New York) and they made a point of writing to them with pronouns like "you," "me," "I," "her," "she," "my," "your."
From there, you get songs like Love Me Do, Please Please Me, From Me to You, I Want to Hold Your Hand...and the list goes on. To replicate their process, follow these steps:
Step 1: remember the mindset of let's write a swimming pool.
Step 2: think about who your audience is...what do they care about?
Step 3: try this simple change...replace the word "I," with the word "you." A simple change of pronoun shifts your focus from yourself to your audience. That's critical when writing a swimming pool.
What are Some Examples?
Here are two anecdotes that speak to the value of thinking outside of yourself to drive prosperity. Afterall, writing a swimming pool is not only about creating content that appeals to your audience, but about putting money in your pocket.
Anecdote number one involves the American poet, Robert Frost.
Frost was at a fancy dinner party one evening. It was cocktail hour and the sun was setting. A lady next to him leaned over and asked if he saw something poetic in the sunset. Frost looked at her and said: "I never mix business with pleasure".
We don't know if he was being completely serious or a little tongue in cheek. Either way, Robert Frost didn't write poetry just for himself in an ivory tower. It was his day job. And he didn't write it for free.
Anecdote number two involves legendary country music guitarist and later RCA music executive, Chet Atkins.
A reporter once asked Atkins to define the so-called, "Nashville Sound". Atkins put his hand in his pocket, jangled some loose change, and said: "that's the Nashville Sound...the sound of money."
What Are the Benefits to You?
Writing a swimming pool isn't so much about crass materialism, as it is a mindset which provides a pathway for you to get outside of your own head. It takes you from being a self-absorbed perfectionist to being a producer of content that has great appeal to your audience. It helps take the focus off of what you like and turns your focus toward what your audience likes. It keeps you from being too precious about your work, so you can get stuff out there. It helps you get unstuck.
Here's how today's tip can help you:
- Writing a swimming pool reminds you that you need to create something of value for your audience.
- Writing a swimming pool reminds you not to be too precious about your work (constant noodling and revising). As long as you're meeting the interests and needs of your audience - you're better positioned to succeed.
- Writing a swimming pool helps get you out of your own head to have greater imagination and fresh perspective.
- The mindset of let's write a swimming pool helps get you out of your own way and out of your head.
- Shifting your focus from yourself to your audience is the practical outcome of let's write a swimming pool.
- This mindset is the best hedge against being too precious about the content you're creating.
Creating engaging content can be even easier when you know all 3 StoryHacks!
1. Master the 3 StoryHacks you need to create better content faster in our Private VIP Workshop.
2. Get real-time feedback for a special project or presentation and elevate your business storytelling with live, virtual Coaching.
We hope this issue has been helpful. We look forward to seeing you next week!