You Do WHAT For a Living?
Part of the fun of telling people that I am a copywriter is that writers always seem to carry with them this air of mystique. “Oh! You’re a writer? Wow, that’s so cool.”
Confession: That never gets old for me.
The first impressions around what writers do for a living tend to be romanticized ones. Such mysterious creatures we are, we weavers of words, spending our entire days wrapped in a creative cocoon of writerly bliss. The reality however is totally less than glamorous, believe me. Copywriters tend to be part wizard, part Ernest Hemingway and part raving lunatic. Doing what we do … it ain’t easy folks. The truth is that getting to a really meaty, high-five-worthy line of copy sometimes requires lots of very unsexy grunt work.
Here’s an average day for you. Picture me hunched over my laptop pounding through (and bookmarking) pages and pages of articles and documents, trying to figure out what makes one retailer’s services better than another’s as I blindly grab around for some form of nutrition and instead dunk my hand into a mug of piping hot coffee instead. Yeah. Good times … (And this actually has happened before).
The fact is, we copywriters – especially freelance ones – spend so much more time THINKING and RESEARCHING and CONCEPTING compared to the time we actually spend WRITING. This is one of the bigger challenges for me, personally, in establishing an estimate for clients on how long it will take me to complete a project. Most clients consider the final output indicative of your efforts and not the painful creative gestation that comes before it. Sometimes it’s harder to estimate time that’s needed until you’re in the weeds of the work, and some of that also depends on the amount of strategy or direction you are given initially to work with. Sometimes, it’s little to none. Nonetheless, these are our challenges as writers and by golly, we persevere!
On the plus side, I can stare blankly at my computer screen and call that work – and be 100% serious. I kid you not. The hamster wheel is always going.
You Gotta Kiss A lot Of Frogs … Or So The Saying Goes
The truth is a writer has to churn out a LOT of garbage before they can come up with something good. “Brain dumping” I like to call it. The key is to just write, and keep writing and use the world around you and the goldmine of thoughts, comments, ideas and images as your cache of go-to brain igniters. I’m amazed sometimes at the random everyday things I see and interact with that somehow gestate a useable idea for my copy.
As my business goes and grows, I wanted to take the opportunity to thank all of my lovely social tribe members who are constantly plying me with wonderful ideas, links and brain food that keeps me nourished mentally, and creatively with new ideas for my work. I am eternally grateful for your participation in this creative merry-go-round I call my “profession.”