Why did you choose a career in copywriting and how did you get into it?
I got into copywriting in a roundabout way, as many do.
My background is actually in nursing – I worked in oncology research – but I always loved writing so when a friend asked me to write some copy for her business, I said yes. I actually didn’t know what copywriting was at that point!
I enjoyed doing it though and she loved the results so she asked me again, and again until I became her regular copywriter. Through word of mouth referrals I took on more clients over the years but, at that stage, I was still thinking of it more as a hobby than a career.
That same friend kept commenting that I should do it full-time, but it never really stuck.
Maybe it was living through a pandemic and realising that life’s just too short not to take that leap, but something shifted in 2020 and I finally made the decision to make copywriting my full-time job. I launched my freelance business in January 2021 and I’m loving life!
What work are you most proud of?
I don’t think I could choose a specific piece but anything that a client just loves is definitely up there.
It’s a brilliant feeling when a client says you’ve nailed it!
What piece of copy do you really wish you’d written?
It’s not really what I do but I drove past a billboard advertising mince pies last Christmas. It bore the legend, “These are unprecedented pies”. That made me laugh.
I also love the charming and frankly batty copy of Dr Bronner’s products. They make your average shower a little more interesting!
What do you do if you hit a bit of writer’s block?
A walk in the fresh air with my Labrador is always guaranteed to get things moving. That or spending an hour in my garden – doing something creative but not writing-related seems to help.
Sometimes though, the only way to beat the block is to get through it. And the only way to get through it is to write. So I sit and, with sheer force of will, drag something up from the depths of my mind.
And maybe it’s terrible at first, but somehow the act of writing something – anything – opens the floodgates and I’m back in my flow.
What are your favourite and least and favourite writing-related tasks?
I love the act of writing.
When something clicks and it’s just flowing and I know it’s sounding great. I love those lightbulb moments when something perfect just comes to me, and I love the feeling of finishing a project.
Knowing it’s ready to be sent out into the world! I’m not so keen on the admin that comes with running a business.
Any copywriting pet hates?
Bland, dull, overly wordy copy. Giant blocks of text. And the word ‘drawer’ being misspelt as ‘draw’.
But I actually love bad copy when it’s my job to fix it, I know I can make something beautiful out of something that’s… currently not beautiful.
Also the word “within” where plain old “in” would do (which is pretty much always). See also “utilise” instead of “use”. Those extra letters aren’t big and they aren’t clever.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given?
It’s more like a prolonged, gentle shove over several years than a single piece of advice, but my friend’s encouragement helped immensely.
Not least because I wouldn’t even have known that copywriting was a thing if she hadn’t stepped in…
What advice would you give to people starting out on a copywriting career?
You can’t expect to write well unless you do. And take time to learn about your craft. There’s always more to learn and ways you can improve.
Why do you find ProCopywriters membership useful?
I love connecting with other copywriters. Working as a freelancer you need to find your crew, the people who’ve been there, done that, and know exactly how you feel.
I love reading the blog as well, there’s always something you can learn from reading someone else’s perspective.