Why did you choose a career in copywriting and how did you get into it?
As a child, I always said I wanted to write books when I grew up, and wrote my first ‘novel’ aged 9. Standard self-doubt throughout my late teens put a pause to this dream. I didn’t think I had the skillset to be a writer, and so I put down my pen.
Fresh out of University with a Psychology degree in hand, I fell into an unrelated job in publishing by accident. It was there that I rediscovered writing, and was given the chance to write blogs for the websites of two magazines. My confidence slowly crept up.
After a few years in marketing, I landed a job in communications, much to my joy. I could write a lot more than I used to, and get paid for it. Who knew!
I’ve now just left that job to go fully freelance as a writer, combining my love for words with my passion for the natural world and businesses with purpose.
It’s still early days, but my childhood self would be proud of me – I am writing the stories of others for a living, after all.
What work are you most proud of?
The role I just left was for a global women’s health NGO. When I first started, I was very conscious of my abilities, worried that I would write something that was disrespectful or harmful.
But my confidence grew, and I felt so proud to be spreading the word and writing about such an important cause.
What piece of copy do you really wish you’d written?
What do you do if you hit a bit of writer’s block?
I’ll go for a walk and let my mind roam free for a bit. When I was writing a novel, I had the most inspiration when I was out walking, furiously writing ideas for chapters down on my phone.
Coffee shops are also a favourite – there’s something so focusing about finding a cosy corner, a huge cappuccino in hand, the soft hum of other people’s conversations in my ears.
I have to limit myself to twice a week, though, otherwise it’s a slippery slope for both my bank balance and my caffeine dependence.
What are your favourite and least and favourite writing-related tasks?
I love the stage where I’ve almost finished the first draft. I start to feel proud of what I have achieved, and my creative juices are not yet running dry.
Editing is my least favourite task. I find it difficult to pick my writing apart without wanting to scrap the whole thing and start again (hence the two novels I’ve written, and then locked firmly away…). It feels much less creative than raw, messy first drafts.
Any copywriting pet hates?
Too many rhetorical questions. I see this a lot in website homepage copy, and to me it seems like they’ve copied and pasted a ‘tried and tested’ sales copy formula.
When people ghost after you send a proposal – I’d much rather the potential client come back with a negotiation, or a budget that I can then fit my services to, or even a simple ‘thanks, but no thanks.’
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given?
Act as if you’ve already got the clients you want. Produce work as if it were for your dream clients. If you can avoid it, don’t take work that you wouldn’t feel proud of putting on your portfolio.
What advice would you give to people starting out on a copywriting career?
Read, and read a lot. Fiction, non-fiction, blogs, other website copy, news, magazines, anything. Learn from them, make a note of what is good and what doesn’t work. They say never trust a skinny chef…
Why do you find ProCopywriters membership useful?
I’ve learned so much from reading the many fantastic blogs and contributions from other members, particularly when it came to pricing my services at the beginning (although this is still a work in progress).
Having a list of talented writers at my fingertips to learn from is invaluable.