Mel Fenson

When and how did you become a copywriter? What did you do before?

Mel Fenson

I’m a copywriter because of the French.  Aged seven, I discovered Nutella and the French language on a camping holiday and it was love.  I spent the next 20 years getting to grips with French, Spanish and (basic) Mandarin and marvelling at how languages work.  In 2007 I started writing online as a food blogger and followed that up with a diploma in journalism.  I once cycled around the Arc de Triomphe for a travel piece which is probably the closest I’ll ever come to dying in the line of duty.  I figured copywriting might be a safer career…

What made you want to be a copywriter?

I love semantic jigsaws and the challenge of finding the words that will swing it with the client’s target audience.

What types of copywriting do you do, and for what clients?

To date I’ve written mainly for websites with a delightful foray into a kitchen brochure for a high end designer.  The photos made me drool as I was writing.

What do you enjoy most?

That slam dunk moment where the client is happy with the copy.  Twitter also makes me happy, but I think that’s more of an addiction than a good thing.

How do you work?

At home, alone with my coffee and beautiful silence.

What sort of working setup do you have?

My office is a really bright space in the roof of the house.  I work from a purple laptop and a messy desk with my juggling balls nearby for when I need a break.  I share the space with a mouse that scuttles around in another part of the roof. It’s kind of like having a rodent colleague and surprisingly comforting.

Recommend one book that copywriters should read.

Mrs Moneypenny’s Careers Advice for Ambitious Women.  She is slightly terrifying, but very inspiring and gives great advice.  She was the kick up the backside I needed to get going with my website.

Also, Mary Berry’s Ultimate Cake Book.  Yes it is ok to just look at the pictures.

How have things changed in the time you’ve been a copywriter? What’s better, and what’s worse?

I’m relatively new to copywriting, so I’m not sure my opinion will have much gravitas.  But for what it’s worth; getting paid more is better and the backache is worse.

If you could change one thing about your working life as a copywriter, what would it be?

The demon who sits on my shoulder at the beginning of a job and says: ‘You can’t actually do this can you?’  No idea where he comes from, but I wish he’d go away.

What’s the weirdest thing that’s happened in your copywriting career?

I got supremely excited about alt tags, metadata and altering html code when I was building my website.  I didn’t realise I was channelling a geek.

What single piece of advice would you give other copywriters?

Be nice to new copywriters.

  • Mel Fenson
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