Why did you choose a career in copywriting and how did you get into it?
I’ve always felt like a writer at heart: from creating storybooks out of scrap paper and cereal boxes as a child, to my English degree, to now. Each job I had after uni involved writing in some form, but never as the main element. I realised I was at risk of losing this important part of my identity, and so I began to look at how I could make a change.
I went part-time to create the space to bring my writing practice more into focus. After a couple of years of side hustling, I felt ready to go fully freelance, offering copywriting, editing and proofreading to the arts and creative industries.
Now I’m (finally!) doing what I’m meant to be doing in the world – the sense of pride, peace and joy that brings me is immense.
What work are you most proud of?
Supporting individual artists with writing and editing. As a creative practitioner and poet, I understand what a challenge it can be to edit your own words or write about your work for publications and funding applications. For other artists, I am that fresh pair of eyes that makes the process so much easier.
What piece of copy do you really wish you’d written?
Visit Iceland’s OutHorse Your Email campaign is the whole package: a brilliant pun, ponies and a powerful feeling of freedom and fun. I especially like the making-of video.
What do you do if you hit a bit of writer’s block?
I step away from my desk and write in my head instead. So much of my best work happens when walking, gardening, washing up or sleeping. All the magic and problem solving takes place in those spaces between desk/screen time.
What are your favourite and least favourite writing-related tasks?
I love chopping back word counts and still retaining the essence of the original. A client commented the other day: “I send Pip 4,000 words, and she makes it 800 by some kind of wizardry.”
Least favourite… there must be something, but I’m struggling to think of it! As long as I’m working with words, I’m happy.
Any copywriting pet hates?
Greenwashing. Even the ‘Not yet recyclable’ wording on packaging is problematic. It’s a good example of why words matter: every day, that message is enabling people to avoid the guilt of adding to landfill.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given?
When I was looking to go freelance, a lot of advice was along the lines of, “all you have to do is believe in yourself!” But then I’d discover the hidden privilege of the people dishing out these soundbites. They had the safety net of their partner, or parents, covering all living expenses for their first year in business. Or a relative who owned an agency and gave them their big break. Without the full picture, this kind of ‘just go for it’ advice is unhelpful, even harmful.
Instead, I went along to a series of women’s networking events, relieved to see the simple premise of ‘talk work, share ideas, support one another’. (My own privilege here is that I discovered the network because I knew one of the organisers, Liz Seabrook, and I could afford the time and train ticket to go to London). The events were a revelation: with guest speakers sharing their career stories in a way that was inspiring, transparent, human, and practical. I started to see an exciting, achievable path ahead.
Women supporting women continues to be a source of sound advice. Through Instagram I discovered WILD – a welcoming and inclusive co-working community of women founded by Jess Hellens. We all meet on Zoom a few times a week to work alongside, support and challenge each other, and keep it real.
What advice would you give to people starting out on a copywriting career?
Keep writing and sharing work you can be proud of, and success will follow… even if not straight away. One of my first big copywriting jobs came from a ‘failure’ many months earlier when I’d been invited to pitch for some work via an agency. The ultimate client stuck with their existing copywriter, but the agency creative director was so impressed with my sample copy that he recommended me for an even more exciting project. Good work is never wasted.
Why do you find ProCopywriters membership useful?
For me, being part of ProCopywriters helps dispel any imposter syndrome and is a connection point to the copywriting community. I started out amid the pandemic, so I’m looking forward to the in-person CopyCon this year.