Why did you choose a career in copywriting and how did you get into it?
Actually, I started out as a product person. I worked for over a decade in wholesale fashion, travelled all over the place and then started a business selling crafts for kids after having my first son.
After about 18 months it really wasn’t working. I was so annoyed that I decided to start my own blog for a bit of self-promotion and learn all about SEO to get found online.
People were engaging much more with what I was writing than the product and when a huge craft blog in the USA got in touch and offered to pay me to write for them, the lightbulb went on. I’d always been a writer through school and university but I just didn’t realise it was an actual thing you could make a living out of.
What work are you most proud of?
I once asked a new client who they admired for tone of voice and they started singing the praises of a brand that, unbeknown to them, I’d actually worked with and defined the tone for. Quite a nice moment.
Other than that, I’m proud of my own newsletter (which I spend AGES on) and some of the relationships I’ve made over the last few years. Lots of people can write well, but not everyone is easy to work with or does what they say they’ll do.
What piece of copy do you really wish you’d written?
I once found an ancient Caterpillar shoebox in my mother-in-law’s house in a toy cupboard. I opened it up and there was all this fabulous copy on the inside of the lid. It was quite moving. I’d definitely like to have put my name to that.
What do you do if you hit a bit of writer’s block?
Hmm… I’m not sure I believe in writer’s block. Writing is more like a really fun discipline. You just have to sit down and get on with it and not mind if things turn out rubbish on the first draft. From there you tinker, refine and rewrite until it gets good.
What are your favourite and least and favourite writing-related tasks?
My favourite thing to do is interview creative people and then write up the interviews with the help of a transcribing tool called Otter. That, writing my newsletter and anything related to tone of voice. My least favourite is writing Instagram captions because social media just wears me down.
Any copywriting pet hates?
Some corporate banks and businesses seem to think they’re completely breaking the mould by “writing like you talk” and using “they’re” instead of “they are”. Deary me. It just makes them all sound exactly the same.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given?
Ha! I don’t think I’ve ever been given any?! I’d follow my own, which is to persevere with your own version of success, stay grateful and treat every client like royalty.
What advice would you give to people starting out on a copywriting career?
One of the first things I ever did was write for free in exchange for testimonials. It built me such a solid stream of work by word of mouth.
Loads of people tell you not to do that, like it’s demoralising, but I think you need to play a long game that’s about more than money. For me, it was a great move.
Why do you find ProCopywriters membership useful?
It’s great to be able to look up and connect with fellow writers and the one-day training conference is really fantastic. I quite like flashing the digital badge about too for a bit of credibility.
Where can people find out more about you?
You’ll find me on my website The Stitch Writer & Co or hanging around on Substack with a letter called Small Things Big. I love getting replies to that email and I always answer. Draw me into a conversation that way and you’ll find out plenty.