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Three Bits Of Advice For The Aspiring Copywriter

ONE: Don’t get hung up on your work… 

It’s all new… you’re keen and you want to impress…

What do you want to do?  IMPRESS!

When do you want to do it?  NOW!

But if you really want to demonstrate you’ve got the writing stuff remember – it’s a collaborative game.  You get the chance to impress in that context of creative co-operation.  The team wins and so do you.  You’ll get to score the goal soon enough but to begin with you have to be prepared to work hard and contribute to the approach play.  No one likes a goal hanger who can’t adapt or change role.I LOVE WORDS

It’s a writer’s fact… We’ve all been there: chiselled out every well-honed killer word from the deepest recesses of our creativity and – like a child with a favourite toy – there’s no way we’re going to let go.  S’mine… leave it alone!

Don’t become as precious as the jewel of copy you are polishing.

Expect; hope for; crave; demand and most of all – welcome feedback.  Who do they think they are?!  Oh right (ahem) the Senior Copywriter and the Creative Director… Someone reworking, advising, changing bits or maybe even the entirety of your copy is a HARD but TRUE lesson.  Treat it as a BIG POSITIVE not a small-minded negative.

This truly is one career in which you never stop learning.

The more I write the more I feel the less I know.

TWO: It’s not about where you start but where you end…

Brainstorming; meeting room congregations; throwing ideas into a pot; pinning paper to a wall; going down the pub… whatever you call this opening gambit – it serves a creative function.  Don’t be afraid to offer ideas however stupid they may seem.  Don’t be confusEndIsNeared that some have a natural gift for the latter as it’s not necessarily the same thing.

Nothing is off limits.  Ideas can come at any time and from any source.  Be open to creative stimuli.  To dismiss any process or suggestion is to close a door that you probably never knew existed.

And yes – there are times you do go back to the first thing you thought of – but by then is it really the same idea?

So don’t be afraid to up it mix.

No-one is judging your sanity… or criticising the journey.

Ultimately it’s all about the quality of what you end up with.

It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.” (Jean-Luc Godard.)kid-reading-book

THREE: Read, read and read again…

Read everything: ads, brochures, newspapers, magazines, books, plays, billboards, blogs, emails – even that little bit on the back of the tomato sauce bottle at lunch.  Everything has its own language conventions; codes: tone and cadence.

I knew a man called Cadence once – he had a great sense of rhythm…

He had a brother called Tone but he was the sort you were never aware of until he wasn’t there.

Just as important… read people: all ages; all classes; all occasions.  Listen to conversations however weird without being er, weird about it yourself.

Be a sponge… but when you squeeze it out make it your own – © X Factor judges.

Nothing is original.  Steal from anywhere that resonates wiExclamation Markth inspiration or fuels your imagination.”  (Jim Jarmusch)

FOUR: Surprise!

Okay maths wasn’t my calling…

Rules are there to be broken… they are a benchmark not a straitjacket – however, you can’t effectively break the rules of writing unless you understand them in the first place.

Adapt and be creative with the truth: just because Three was the magic number when I started doesn’t mean things can’t change.  Which sort of encapsulates One and Two.Sheep-Grazing

Don’t be one of the sheep… the same diet – both what you take in and what you put out – can be so boring.


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