Why did you choose a career in copywriting and how did you get into it?
Copywriting came to me just at the right time in my life. I was going through a career identity crisis, constantly searching for different jobs and different careers that I thought I might like – I even considered becoming a zoo keeper. The truth was that I didn’t think I was good at anything, but then a chance job opportunity gave me the chance to start writing. And I’ve been tip-tapping away on the keyboard ever since.
I had always loved the idea of being self-employed and working without the constraints of an office 9 to 5 job, so I finally took the plunge into freelancing last year, and I honestly haven’t looked back since.
What work are you most proud of?
I’m proud of every project that I’m involved with, however big or small. The moment that everything comes together and you see it online or printed, I feel fulfilled and sometimes can’t believe that it’s my own work. During the process, there are however equal moments of ‘Wow, did I really write that?’ and ‘Oh dear, did I really write that?’ when I read things over.
What piece of copy do you really wish you’d written?
Whenever I see other copy that makes me think ‘Oh, that’s good – why didn’t I think of that?’ and anything that makes me chuckle to myself or provokes a reaction. I enjoy reading magazines for the adverts and I take note of all the ones that I think are great ideas, something I learnt from my mentor and tutor at the Blackford Centre for Copywriting.
What do you do if you hit a bit of writer’s block?
I stare into space some more until I admit defeat and get out of the flat.
I like cooking, which is a welcome distraction when my mind isn’t playing ball, and other times I go out for a walk or for a coffee. Caffeine always helps (or a glass of wine, but I’m not sure I can admit that…just make sure you check it the next day!).
Basically, it’s anything that takes me away from my desk and into another headspace. It’s also amazing how many thoughts I have as I aimlessly roam the aisles of my local Tesco – mainly because I forgot the shopping list I so meticulously wrote instead of working.
What are your favourite and least favourite writing-related tasks?
Not technically a writing-related task, but my least favourite is the wait between submitting work and the initial feedback from a client. I start to doubt everything – that’s my nature – and think of all the other ways I could have written it.
But then those times that I start writing and the hours just fly by because I’ve been so ‘in the zone’. When I come out of that bubble I feel so satisfied, and crack open the chocolate.
Any copywriting pet hates?
When it’s all strategy, empty words and ego. I do some work for the property investment and development industry, and it’s always been a pet hate how their school of thought is often the more complicated the better. It’s copy that can’t always be understood by your next door neighbour, and I hope that with time it will come back down to earth.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given?
Do what makes you happy, life’s too short to be miserable.
Not strictly career advice, but my mum said this to me when I was going through my own career crisis. I was coming home tired, fed up, often crying, grumpy and generally a horrible person to live with, until I realised I have to at least try and make it as a freelance copywriter. If I don’t try, I’ll never know if I can do it.
What advice would you give to people starting out on a copywriting career?
As a junior copywriter I’m still starting out on my career, so I don’t feel entirely comfortable giving other people advice, but the one thing I would say is that you have to take the rough with the smooth. There are a lot of rougher times at the beginning, but you have to keep persevering and take any negative feedback as lessons to be learnt.
What’s your favourite thing about being a copywriter?
It’s the freedom and variety of work. In the morning you might be writing about finance and the afternoon you’re in the world of beauty products. I’m also still finding things out about the industry and it’s exciting to learn something new every day.
Why do you find PCN membership useful?
It gives you an ‘in’ to a network of supportive and friendly people, all at different stages of their career. The forum is good for asking questions and reading people’s answers or points of view, and it’s full of useful advice. It’s comforting to know that there are fellow copywriters there to help and guide you, or vice versa, when you work for yourself.
Where can people find out more about you?
There’s a wee bit more about me at www.lucythecopywriter.com, or you can follow my antics and attempts at One Minute Briefs on twitter at @lucywrites1.