Why did you choose a career in copywriting and how did you get into it?
I sort of fell into it by mistake without realising it was something I could get paid for. I did English at university and friends who were starting businesses would often throw bits of writing my way to see if they worked. They didn’t. But then I helped and they did.
What work are you most proud of?
A report for HTC on beauty in design. It involved interviewing developers, designers and psychologists. A journalist friend found it online recently while researching an article she was writing. I read it again and it’s really good.
What piece of copy do you really wish you’d written?
The headlines for The Economist stagger me with their intelligence.
What do you do if you hit a bit of writer’s block?
If you hit a writer’s block you haven’t done enough research. When you come to put pen to paper for your first draft the amount of information in your head should ache to be released onto the page.
What are your favourite and least favourite writing-related tasks?
I love it when the pages and pages of notes I take start to take shape into page form and then paragraph form. It’s like cooking from a complicated recipe. Once the onions are softened, everything else is easy. But chopping them can make you weep.
This is going to sound prissy but I still can’t believe I get paid to do this, so nothing.
Any copywriting pet hates?
“Exciting solutions.” Purlease.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given?
Andy Maslen: Do you only want clients in Newcastle?
Me: “No, I want clients all over the world.”
Andy Maslen: “Then change your bloody company name woman.”
What advice would you give to people starting out on a copywriting career?
Read. Read. Read.
Create a folder of tear sheets.
Listen. Listen. Listen.
And ask more questions than you thought possible.