Why did you choose a career in copywriting and how did you get into it?
It sounds cliched to say “I didn’t choose copywriting, it chose me,” but it’s true.
I’ve always loved creative writing from a young age, and my mum’s a writer too, so I guess it’s in my blood.
After a string of varied jobs, from working as a stewardess on Scotrail trains to handling 999 calls for the police, I found myself unemployed and spotted an advert for work at home writers. From there I realised how much I enjoyed writing every day, gradually built up my portfolio and 6 months later was freelancing full time.
What work are you most proud of?
It has to be the product descriptions I wrote for Moonpig in May 2016. The opportunity to have some fun, packing my copy with puns and silly humour, made it a fantastic fortnight.
Plus, who doesn’t want to spend their time writing about superheroes and StarWars gifts?!
What piece of copy do you really wish you’d written?
Anything on the Anatomicals site – I love their tone of voice.
What do you do if you hit a bit of writer’s block?
Going for a walk always helps with my writer’s block (well, not always!) so sometimes I’ll get some fresh air or grab a coffee and just wander around outside until I start to have some fresh ideas.
What are your favourite and least favourite writing-related tasks?
My favourite copywriting-related task has to be when I get the chance to spend hours researching a subject I’m really interested in, like photography or travel. I always find myself thinking, “I can’t believe I’m being paid to do this!”
Least favourite? Chasing clients for overdue invoice payments. Nobody likes doing that, but it’s what pays the bills!
Any copywriting pet hates?
As a writer I guess I’m a bit of a ‘grammar nazi’ which means whenever I hear people confusing ‘your’ and ‘you’re’, or ‘there’ ‘their’ and ‘they’re’, my blood starts to boil. I usually have to stop myself correcting people…
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given?
I’ve always been told, “You can do whatever you put your mind to.”
Or as Radim Malinic says in his ‘Book of Ideas’ (which I read recently), “Commit yourself. Then you see.”
I like to think I’ve applied this philosophy to my writing career. Even if I have no experience writing a press release, training course or brochure, I’ll say yes to the project, and I’ve always found myself able to meet the client’s expectations.
What advice would you give to people starting out on a copywriting career?
If you want to be a copywriter, write!
Don’t spend all your time reading about how to write or studying copywriting courses.
The best way to learn is by taking on small jobs for friends, family and local businesses, or on freelance sites like Upwork, to build your portfolio.
Have the balls to apply for briefs and roles you don’t feel qualified or experienced enough to do – you have to start somewhere. Copywriters are continually learning and honing their craft;
none of us know it all, so don’t be afraid to give things a go – you might surprise yourself!
Where can people find out more about you?
You can visit my website at www.wordnerdcopy.com to find out more about my work and previous clients, or catch up with what I’m doing right now (drinking tea quite probably) on Twitter (@wordnerdcopy) or LinkedIn (as Paula Beaton).