Why did you choose a career in copywriting and how did you get into it?
It started with pedantry and helping friends to edit things, and kind of escalated from there.
When you tell enough people enough times that you want to work with words for money, they start to believe you, and you have to go and do it. Hopefully, they ask you to do it again.
What work are you most proud of?
I’m really pleased with one campaign that’s in progress, but I can’t tell you about it yet! I was very proud to name and write for edible-insect company Grub when the brand was in its early days.
What piece of copy do you really wish you’d written?
It changes all the time, but one that sticks is a Times ad from a couple of years back in support of Andy Murray at Wimbledon: “Doubters. Quiet please.”
What do you do if you hit a bit of writer’s block?
Stare at the piece (or lack thereof) for a bit longer than is strictly productive. Make tea/change location/change from screen to paper/vice versa/all of the above. If all else fails, read something unrelated for a few minutes.
What are your favourite and least favourite writing-related tasks?
Favourite: I particularly love the thinking and scribbling early on during a campaign brief, when there are tangents to follow and rabbit holes to fall down, all in the name of solving a problem.
Love/hate relationship: Rebalancing things that were already nicely balanced because someone dislikes the sense of a word or phrase.
Any copywriting pet hates?
I’d like to be big about this and say I hate the feeling of dogma around certain conventions, but we all have things that wind us up: ‘solutions’, ‘leverage’ as a verb, meaningless fuzz passing for emotional advertising.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given?
“Don’t be surprised when you get out there and realise nobody really knows what the f*ck they’re doing” – a lovely antidote to the impostor feeling.
What advice would you give to people starting out on a copywriting career?
Read like crazy, notice and focus on the bits of the job you enjoy the most, revel in the learning curve.