Why did you choose a career in copywriting and how did you get into it?
I wanted to start my own online business so I could live and work from anywhere. Initially, I just wanted to travel and live as a digital nomad, and freelance writing was a way to do it, but then I fell in love with the work itself and travel became secondary. I started out writing (horror of horrors) SEO ARTICLES! I threw together a website inside a week and started sending out cold email pitches. I got my first client in two days and it’s been up-up-up from there. (And I don’t write SEO articles anymore, thank Christ.)
What work are you most proud of?
Can I say my logo? I didn’t make it myself, but whatever. It’s mine and it’s brilliant. HA! Actually, a big part of my work has been showing others how to become a freelance writer, and I’ve helped lots of people quit their jobs and become full-time freelancers, so that’s pretty gratifying. I guess you were probably asking about my writing. Hmm. I don’t know. I like most things I write (I’m rare that way).
What piece of copy do you really wish you’d written?
The Talking Shrimp work with me page. Damn, that’s some good shit. I’m also going to throw it out there and say YES, I like what Oasis is doing with their ads. CONTROVERSIAL, I KNOW. Although I don’t write ad copy, so I’m not that bothered about not having written it myself. Oh, I liked Spotify’s recent ad campaign too.
What do you do if you hit a bit of writer’s block?
I don’t really get writer’s block. Well, I guess I just don’t think of it as writer’s block. It’s not that I struggle to find the words, it’s that I JUST DON’T WANT TO DO IT. So I set a timer, or put SelfControl on my MacBook, and remind myself how nice it will be once I’ve done it. And then I do it.
What are your least favourite and favourite writing-related tasks?
Ugh, research, man. I just want to know everything already without having to put any effort in. As for my favourite? Just the actual … you know … the writing bit. I don’t get it when people say they love having written, but hate doing the writing. I’m like, no my dudes, the process is the fun part.
Any copywriting pet hates?
SO MANY. Anything to do with bullshitting people, really. I’ve written an entire post about how to write sales copy that will make you feel really, really awful about yourself, and that covers a lot of the biggest offenders.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given?
Ah, not to get all cliched on you, but the whole ‘do work you love and you’ll never work a day in your life’ thing. My dad used to say that to me growing up, and though it’s not literally true, the meaning behind it resonates massively with me. I love my work and life is good.
What advice would you give to people starting out on a copywriting career?
DON’T OVERTHINK IT. Also, write a lot. Start a blog. It’ll help develop your voice.
Why do you find PCN membership useful?
I’m a pretty new member, but I got an enquiry literally within a couple of hours of joining, so that was nice. I like feeling part of the copywriting community too, and joining the PCN helps with that, you know?
Where can people find out more about you?
Over at Untamed Writing (seriously, go look at my logo) where I blog about writing, business and life, and at howtobecomeafreelancewriter.com. Oh, also Twitter @karenmarston. I loooooves the Twitter. Say hi!