Cut the Bathroom Scenes from Your Copy

When was the last time you saw someone go to the bathroom on TV? (I know that’s a weird question, but go with me here.)

Unless something funny or important happens (I’m thinking Ross trying to get the leather pants off or somebody getting murdered in the shower), you don’t see those mundane moments on screen.

That’s not an accident or a poo phobia; it’s because screenwriters understand that they have a limited amount of time to tell a story, and a limited attention span.  Even so-called “reality” TV shows, like Big Brother, cuts the boring stuff in the live broadcast. And we all know only weirdos watch the live stream, amirite?

I mean.  No judgement.  If that’s your thing.  😉

What are the “bathroom scenes” in your copy?

Depending on what you’re writing, I’m betting you have some bathroom scenes in your copy.

  • On your blog, it might be long, extraneous paragraphs that don’t really add anything to the point you’re trying to make. If you find yourself talking about multiple topics or making many different points in your blog posts, you’ve got some bathroom scenes.
  • On your sales page, it’s ANYTHING that doesn’t directly relate to what you want people to do/buy. This might even include a testimonial that’s something like, “I love her! She’s awesome!” And definitely includes anything that links away from the page.
  • On your about page, it might be when you go on and on about stuff that doesn’t have ANYTHING to do with what people hire your for, or details that actually detract from your credibility.  (Yeah, don’t do that.) It’s fine to mention that you love scrapbooking if you’re a health coach, but don’t spend four paragraphs on your favorite scrapbooking memories, ‘kay?

In other words, bathroom scenes are anything in your copy that isn’t relevant or important to make your point, because every piece of copy you write should have a clear, singular message.

A lot of times, I see this happen with stories, testimonials, or pithy statements that the writer loves and desperately wants to use — and so they throw them in whether they truly fit with the purpose of the copy or not.

Cut the bathroom scenes and go straight to the car chases.

Let’s face it, people go to see action movies for the car chases, not to watch the hero reading a magazine in the “library.”

In your world, your car chases are the nuggets of information gold you’re dropping that convey your message clearly and concisely.  But, as I showed above, it can be easy for some bathroom scenes to sneak in there too, if you’re not careful.

There are two ways to make sure you don’t have a lot of extraneous bathroom scenes in your copy:

  • If you’re a planner, you can outline your post before you get started.  Outlining helps you stay on topic and stay focused on the one message you want to convey with any single piece of copy. As you get better at outlining, you’ll discover that there just isn’t any place for that extraneous bathroom scene that seems like such a good idea, but doesn’t really fit.
  • If you’re more of a write-by-the-seat-of-your-pants sort of person, you’ll have to spend more time editing. There’s nothing wrong with this; I totally fall into this camp! But it does mean that you have to be much more diligent in your editing, asking yourself again and again, “Is this a car chase or a bathroom scene?”

Think like a screenwriter when crafting your copy: remember that you have a limited amount of time to get your point across, and your audience has a limited attention span. That’s why you always cut straight to the car chases and avoid the bathroom scenes.

Got a question about this silly metaphor? 😉 I’d love to hear it in the comments below. How do you make sure you’re not leaving any bathroom scenes in your copy?

7 thoughts on “Cut the Bathroom Scenes from Your Copy

  1. Ha – you pulled me in with the “bathroom” analogy. Love it! I’m both a planner and an editor. But think I need to revisit my About and Sales pages after reading this. Thanks for the helpful tips.

  2. Thanks for the great tips! I have this problem…I think EVERYTHING I say is important :0!
    LOVE the title. totally grabbed me. signed up for your template! Thank you!

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