Helen Mortimer — ProCopywriters Member Spotlight

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

I worked as a senior project editor in the Marketing and Communications department of a large charity.

When my team was made redundant, I decided to become a freelance editor but, as some of my charity job had been copywriting, I got more copywriting than editing work. It’s now about half and half.

What work are you most proud of?

I’ve written text for Asthma UK’s website that has helped parents of children with asthma. The information that needed to be given was quite complicated and I was told that I’d made it very clear and accessible. This is what I aim for in all my writing.

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

It’s not really what I do but I’d love to have written some of those long-copy ads you used to get in magazines.

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

I try to get something else useful done, like admin. For some writing, it’s good to make a start and then have a day or so of mulling over while you do something else. Also, what I can’t write at four in the afternoon often comes quite easily at six in the morning.

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

I don’t enjoy the blank page, so I chuck down lots of notes to avoid it. I love going back to text and cutting it ruthlessly – this is definitely my favourite bit.

Any copywriting pet hates?

Would-be clients paying pitiful hourly rates because they think writing is easy.

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

I have a friend who is a style consultant; she always presents herself immaculately. When she started her business, she decided this was something she needed to do to build her reputation.

I’ve translated this into checking everything I send out – from client copy down to the simplest text – to make sure it’s well-written and correct. My 16-year-old says I’m the only person she knows who doesn’t save full stops on texts just for when they are cross.

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

You need to learn to do a really great job – that doesn’t come just because you can write in English – and tell everyone what you are doing. Who knows who they are having dinner with that evening?

Why do you find ProCopywriters membership useful?

I’ve got several ongoing clients through the directory and I find the forum really useful for getting advice from my colleagues.

Where can people find out more about you?


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