Paul Allen

Paul AllenWhy did you choose a career in copywriting and how did you get into it?

I trained as a translator, then a journalist, and finally an editor.

After working at the BBC, I started my own agency Lark – and began copywriting and creating content strategies for some lovely charities and businesses.

What work are you most proud of?

Probably writing my first book, Your Ethical Business. That and producing a new tone of voice for Kew Gardens – for which we wrote some very detailed guidelines for freelance writers.

What piece of copy do you really wish you’d written?

So much brilliant stuff out there. It’s not ad copy, but I like the way Ryszard Kapuscinski writes about the value of a breeze in The Shadow of the Sun.

What do you do if you hit a bit of writer’s block?

Get away from the screen.

What are your favourite and least favourite writing-related tasks?

Favourite: Unexpected copy breakthroughs, successful editing sessions and killing some of my darlings.

Least favourite: transcribing interviews, and killing some other darlings.

Any copywriting pet hates?


What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given?

Do good work, and don’t be too precious.

What advice would you give to people starting out on a copywriting career?

Write about things that you find hard, as well as what comes more easily. If you’re able to switch from crafting brilliant microcopy to structuring lengthy reports – for any kind of audience – you’ll do very well.

What do you think?

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