So you want to be a copywriter?
If I’m being perfectly honest, copywriting was something I fell into rather than something I set out to do. But oh, how hard I fell. I’ve never been in a role where I’ve felt more challenged, creative or valued. But there were a few things that took some getting used to. If you’re considering becoming a copywriter, consider this:
1. You need to get used to a varied workflow
The hardest thing to get used to when I became a copywriter was the workflow. Sometimes you will be incredibly busy and find yourself half a bottle of wine down in your office at 10pm. Sometimes you’ll be spinning around in your chair begging people to let you write their e-mails for them. There will be work and plenty of it, so use your downtime to recharge, sift through whatever is going on in the creative (and maybe not so creative) world, and get inspired.
2. Being creative on the spot is tough
You will be asked to come up with a creative slogan in an hour. You will be asked to create an award-winning campaign in two days. There is no specific process for this. It’s a lot of staring at your partner in crime and waiting for miracles to happen. It’s discussing a hundred things that have nothing to do with your creative brief and then stumbling upon a perfect idea. Creativity doesn’t flow in a straight line. Challenge yourself and for the love of god, avoid clichés. (See what I did there?)
3. Be ready to write, rewrite and rewrite again
Writing, like any art form, is subjective. You’ll sit in a room and only 50% of the people in it will like the copy you’ve written. You’ll present twenty-five ideas to your Creative Director and be told to go back and think harder. You will rewrite the same sentence over and over until you don’t know what it means anymore. And this is all part of doing work you’re proud of. You will grumble and roll your eyes and think you’ve exhausted every possible way of expressing a thought until you haven’t, then you’ll beam when you get a room full of approving nods.
4. You will have random knowledge about all sorts of weird stuff
Do you know the percentage of Canadians who feel other Canadians don’t wash their hands enough? I do. Since becoming a copywriter, I am a well of random facts. This has made me incredibly useful at trivia and means I have spent countless hours researching things I may only use for a single social post. The only way to write copy that meaningfully communicates your message is to know the subject matter as well as you know all the words to “Ignition.” (You know you know them. Don’t lie to me).