Why did you choose a career in copywriting and how did you get into it?
I’ve been an author for quite a while. I love writing. Always have. But for some reason, I’d managed to get pushed into working in payroll.
Anyone who knows me knows I’m rubbish with numbers. I ended up working in it for 12 years, and in that 12 years, I’ve retained very little payroll knowledge.
Now if that doesn’t prove you’re in the wrong profession, I don’t know what does.
A few years ago, I was told I was being made redundant, and I thought: “Balls to this, I’m not doing payroll anymore.”
So, I studied copywriting. It’s a massively different skill from writing books, but I enjoyed it. I got my Diploma and worked in my spare time.
I ended up staying in payroll for three years after initially being told about my redundancy, but it’s helped me build my portfolio and client base.
In May 2018 I was made redundant again – so I thought: “Balls to this, I’m not doing payroll anymore.”
I had offers for full-time work, but I decided to go freelance full-time — and I love it.
What work are you most proud of?
There’s a piece of work I’m proud of, but I can’t link to it because it was an article about Car Hire Insurance.
I did it to help out a fellow copywriter. I had to turn it around in 24 hours and, not only was the copywriter impressed, but the company also said it was: “The best article on the subject they’d ever read.”
To get that reaction from a writer as well as the company, who are experts, was a huge confidence boost.
What piece of copy do you really wish you’d written?
Nothing. I love to see smart, original copy, but I’m not the kind of person who wishes they’d written it.
Boring answer, isn’t it?
What do you do if you hit a bit of writer’s block?
Go for a walk at first. I get out of wherever I am to break that chain.
I also brainstorm. This is where being an author helps me. I’m used to writing stories that take years to write, so I’m used to hitting a bit of writer’s block.
Brainstorming ideas about what I want to achieve can sometimes help me.
Or sometimes, I’ll just go and lie on the couch and watch something for a while before going back to it.
What are your favourite and least favourite writing-related tasks?
Favourite, probably getting started. I can procrastinate a lot beforehand but find once I start I’m absolutely fine.
Least, probably research. Although it’s vital, I want to start writing, so it’s more that I want to get the writing underway, and research means I can’t – although I know that without it I can’t start writing!
Any copywriting pet hates?
Jargon or needless, silly ways of describing something that a client insists must be included, especially when just saying what it is in plain English is much better.
I’m all for using industry-specific words if the piece is aimed solely for people in that profession but calling a spoon a ‘Hand-held Food Scooper’ is taking the piss.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given?
Be yourself and charge what you’re worth.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you first start working with business people. You just have to show you’re human and not be afraid to charge what you think the job and your time is worth.
I undercharged at first like we all do when we start out – but I’ve come to know what my writing is worth now, and I show who I am as a person more.
What advice would you give to people starting out on a copywriting career?
Keep going. Don’t look at writers with 15 years’ experience and believe you don’t belong. You do. Everybody is at different stages of their copywriting career.
You’ll have days when you feel you can’t compete, so don’t try. You’re you, you’re doing this because it’s your passion.
You can’t buy experience, you’ll get there, and the highs and lows are all part of the ride.
Oh, and ask experienced copywriters for advice – they’re nothing but helpful.
What’s your favourite thing about being a copywriter?
Since going freelance – the hours I work.
I’m an early riser, so I’m at my desk by 7:30 am. I can go for a walk during the day, listen to the music I want to and not have to wear a shirt and tie every day.
The freedom is fantastic. If I need to go to the doctors, I know I will make up that time in the evening or weekends. And, as I write most weekends anyway, I don’t see it as extra work because I’m used to it when writing my books.
Why do you find ProCopywriters membership useful?
It’s great reading what other copywriters are up to.
Looking for help? No problem, there’ll be a blog post about what you want to know about, and the community is excellent.
If you’re not sure whether to join, do. Stick the badge on your website and show the world you’ve got this!
Where can people find out more about you?
My business is called Indelible Think and can be found at www.indeliblethink.co.uk