Why did you choose a career in copywriting and how did you get into it?
I retrained as a journalist in 2008, specialising in travel, and subsequently started copywriting as people approached me to do it.
What work are you most proud of?
I like helping startups, especially with their websites. I know what it’s like as a newbie – I set up a delicatessen once – and appreciate how daunting it is with all the information overload.
So, it’s nice for them to feel in me they have a safe pair of hands who has also been through it all (several times) herself.
What piece of copy do you really wish you’d written?
I don’t specialise in advertising straplines and all that clever stuff, although I used to win headline competitions back in the day. Once I won a tumble dryer and since we were poor at the time and didn’t have one, it was very welcome.
What do you do if you hit a bit of writer’s block?
I don’t believe in writer’s block. Not for me, anyway. I’m used to sometimes merciless deadlines, so I guess that motivates me. I just write something – anything – and then polish it until it shines, or at least until I’m happy with it.
What are your favourite and least and favourite writing-related tasks?
I like most of the tasks I’m asked to perform. I suppose the trick is to find your area of joy. My least favourite is more to do with the client than the work.
I don’t like the client who goes quiet on you and then randomly pops back into your life. Also, editing my work by committee is a big no-no.
Any copywriting pet hates?
I hate carousels on websites. Or anything that moves (unless it’s a video), is shiny or flashes. Just nice images and text I can read, please.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given?
At my delicatessen, under pressure from a customer, I agreed to bake and ice a cake for her. I’m not a professional baker.
An older supplier came in to make a delivery shortly afterwards and I told her my woe. Instead of being sympathetic, she said “Next time, just say no.” That stuck with me and I now practise it. I try to be a can-do person, but I also know my limits.
What advice would you give to people starting out on a copywriting career?
Be true to yourself and try to develop your own style. This takes time, but be patient, and just keep improving. Help people, even if there appears to be nothing in it for you.
Be a nice person. People hate working with arseholes no matter how good they are at their craft.
Why do you find ProCopywriters membership useful?
I’m a great believer in groups of like-minded people. It makes us stronger.