How has your business changed since your first Member Spotlight interview?
It hasn’t really! I’m still ticking along the same as always, enjoying the variety of work that comes my way.
Of course, there was a bit of disruption due to the coronavirus situation – my work dried up overnight when lockdown was announced, and I’ve had a
few long-term clients disappear because of it.
Fortunately, things are picking up again now, and it’s great to have some new names to work with.
What’s been your biggest success since your first Member Spotlight interview?
I’ve worked with a few big brands, but I think the thing I’ve been most excited about has been the chance to do some writing for a print publication devoted to a much- loved hobby of mine.
FLYER Magazine is the UK’s most popular general aviation magazine and I’ve been lucky enough that they’ve asked me to write quite a few
articles about helicopters, which has been my pet subject since I started flying them in 2017.
The highlight was writing around 10,000 words across four articles for a dedicated helicopter supplement to be included in the magazine. It was great to be able to put my name and photos to something when so much of my job is anonymous website copy.
I even got to fly a couple of exciting helicopters for it, so that really was a dream job!
Why did you decide to focus on the kind of work you’re doing now?
I’ve become more of a lifestyle copywriter over the years, both because of the projects that I’ve had the opportunity to work on and because I particularly enjoy B2C work.
I enjoy writing simple yet elegant copy that anyone can read, and banishing jargon. I’ve also become more attuned to the subjects I’m best at handling and those I’d rather hand over to more specialist copywriters.
That’s not to say I’m picky about what projects I take on, but I’ve become better at passing on the ones I know I will struggle to get my head around – very technical subjects such as finance, for example.
What are you enjoying most about your industry or niche?
I’ve noticed more brands wanting to use their platform to ‘do good’ recently, and it’s really rewarding to be able to use my skills to help drive positive change.
What are you working on just now?
As always, a few different things: copy for a health supplements brand, content for a sustainable furniture start-up, and an on-going project with a well-known brand of water.
Describe your desk and what’s on it
It’s a little Edwardian writing desk that I’ve positioned in front of a window so that I can see the countryside view beyond the trees immediately surrounding my flat.
It’s great for bird watching; red kites regularly swoop past, and I even spotted a bullfinch the other day. There’s not room for much on my desk, so I just have a weekly planner, a lamp and a photograph that was taken on a memorable solo trip to New England last year.
In all honesty, though, I mostly work on the sofa (terrible for my back, I know).
Tell us about your side projects
I have a couple of book ideas that are in various stages of development – one fiction, one non-fiction – but client work always seems to take over!
I still update my personal blog (Cosy Life) from time to time, but not as often as I should.
How has your writing process evolved?
My writing process hasn’t really changed, but after seven years of freelancing, what I’ve finally learned is when I’m most productive.
After years of full-time employment, 9-5 can be a hard habit to break. It’s only in the last year or so that I’ve finally stopped setting an alarm in the morning, accepted that mornings aren’t my most productive time, and embraced the productivity I’m capable of in the afternoons.
This means I can schedule easier jobs for mid-to-late morning and get stuck into bigger jobs in the afternoon. I’ve also realised that I’m nothing without the pressure of a looming deadline!
What do you wish copywriters were more honest about?
I don’t think we’re a dishonest bunch about anything really! It would be great if there was more transparency about rates though.
What advice do you often hear given to newbies, but you don’t agree with?
It surrounds the issue of productivity rather than copywriting specifically. I often see advice for new freelancers that suggest treating it like a full-time job and maintaining that 9-5 structure.
I accept the need for some structure if you’re not used to the freedom of working for yourself. But, for me, one of the overwhelming
advantages of freelancing is finally breaking free from the tyranny of the 9-5 working day, and regaining some autonomy over your own life in the process.
Any lessons you’re still learning?
Even after all this time, I still struggle with pricing projects! I so often end up underquoting.
It’s a tricky balancing act, as you don’t want to scare off a potential client by quoting too high, but then you don’t want to lose money by not asking for
What’s something about your work that makes your inner copywriting nerd happy, but you’re not able to chat about enough?
I really enjoy writing product descriptions! I’ve honed this skill through writing thousands of them for various big brands, but they’re not the kind of thing that generally gets much attention.
It’s not very glamorous work, but once I get into a rhythm with them I can happily get settled into a big batch of them.