Why did you choose a career in copywriting and how did you get into it?
Years ago (many years ago) I did one of those career questionnaires while I was at school. After duly inputting my answers it told me I should become a copywriter!
I didn’t know what one of those was, and my parents told me it wasn’t a proper job. So I went to uni, tried to get a job in HR and ended up becoming a brand manager for a toothpaste company.
Many years later, while on my second maternity leave, I got into blogging. It filled a creative gap for me and I found it relaxing and incredibly cathartic.
A little while later, I was mindlessly scrolling through the internet and came across an article which talked about copywriting as a career choice. I read it, read it again and realised that this was the job I wanted!
Never one to do things on the spur of the moment, I did quite a bit of research, chatted to other copywriters and then went back to my job and took a distance learning course to train as a copywriter.
With 2 little children and a full-time job it was a particularly tiring time in my life. But I completed the course and then… handed in my notice and became a copywriter!
What work are you most proud of?
I’m really proud of pretty much all of my work. The fact I’m paid to write for a living is incredible in my view.
That said, I’ve had a lot of fun writing product descriptions that were so good I ended up buying most of the products myself. Not my most profitable projects it has to be said.
What piece of copy do you really wish you’d written?
I find most charity direct response letters to be incredibly powerful and well- written. Crisis do an excellent job. I also love Boden’s copy – it’s so consistent and always puts a smile on my face.
What do you do if you hit a bit of writer’s block?
I always, always get away from my desk. A walk is my favourite thing to do, but I have also been known to get stuck into domestic chores until my brain finally yields.
More than that though, I’ve developed a pattern of trying to prevent it happening in the first place. I know I’m at my most creative and productive
early in the week, so I try to schedule my work to do my creative stuff on a Monday/Tuesday or Wednesday.
That, and stay away from too much coffee and try to get enough sleep.
What are your favourite and least and favourite writing-related tasks?
I love planning out juicy new projects. Give me a big piece of paper, coloured pens and a well-written brief and I’m a very happy lady.
What do I dislike? Chasing invoices… does that count?
Any copywriting pet hates?
Super long sentences really get my goat. I also feel a bit itchy when I see overly formal words like ‘nevertheless’ and ‘thus’. Oh and excessive exclamation marks too.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given?
That success is a personal definition and you shouldn’t get hung up on someone else’s definition of doing well. For some people, success might be a
Porsche on the drive and a closet full of designer handbags.
I’m more concerned with working the hours I choose and doing something I love. I barely need a handbag nowadays anyway.
What advice would you give to people starting out on a copywriting career?
That you never stop learning. Having a love for language and a GCSE in English isn’t enough, you need to invest in yourself. So be prepared to cough
up on courses, conferences and networking.
Not just to advance your writing skills – they’re just one part of your job. You also need to find ways of sparking your creativity, managing your time and learning how to handle clients for a happy working relationship.
Why do you find ProCopywriters membership useful?
It’s a treasure trove of expert advice, full of people who actually understand what you do. You can’t underestimate the power of feeling understood!
Where can people find out more about you?
My website’s the best place – laurasands.co.uk. I’m occasionally to be found on social media but too sporadically to rely on.