Joanna Tidball


10 July 2015

7 health hazards of the copywriting profession

Copywriting is a pretty safe job, isn’t it? It doesn’t involve any major health hazards like radiation exposure or industrial farm equipment (the type that vintage Casualty episodes often start with).

Copywriters tend to spend their days sitting quietly at their desks, lovingly crafting words for their clients. But are there hidden risks to our health?

Here’s what I discovered when I asked the copywriters of Twitter whether they’d suffered any injuries in the line of duty.

1. Tea and coffee spillages

Mug of coffeeA common injury for copywriters, it seems. Luckily no major burns were reported to us, but any hot drink spill has the potential for searing pain and a lengthy clean-up operation.

Cut your risk of injury by quitting your tea habit or, if that’s too hardline, then take proper teabreaks away from the distractions of your work.

2. Repetitive strain injury / carpal tunnel syndrome

A serious one, this. Hours and hours typing away on a keyboard isn’t good for you. Recognise the signs of RSI and find out how to prevent it.

3. Electric shocks

One copywriter reported a laptop turning against her by short circuiting and giving her an electric shock. Let’s just hope she didn’t also have to deal with the pain of not having saved the file she was working on.

4. Paper cuts

Medical science is yet to discover exactly why paper cuts hurt quite so much. Keep a supply of plasters handy.

5. Heartbreak

Are copywriters sensitive souls? Perhaps they are, because more than one of you have experienced heartache and shattered dreams when a client has taken a machete to copy you’ve slaved over. Stay stoical, copywriter friends.

6. Forehead injuries

I always thought headdesk was metaphorical, but it seems there are a few bruised foreheads out there. I suspect the odds of being injured in this way increase with each round of client amends. Pro tip: velcro a small pillow to the edge of your desk.

7. Back, shoulder and neck pain

I’m no stranger to copywriters’ slouch and have the physio invoices to prove that poor posture can be both painful and expensive. Among the hazards to watch out for: wedging a phone between your ear and neck, trying to reach the printer without getting up from your chair, and suppressing a sneeze while on the phone to clients. Here are some tips on how to sit correctly.

Have you experienced any other copywriting injuries? Leave a comment to let us know about your ailments and afflictions.

Thanks to Jamie DayVikki Kinnear, Laura, Honor Clement-Hayes, Sarah Westlake, DropCap Copywriting, Ash Billinghay and Andy Maslen for their contributions to this in-depth research paper.

Image credit: Rob Brewer 

What do you think?

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Natalie Smithson

July 10, 2015 at 11:41am

Working near the kitchen certainly does some damage to the waistline!