Monday, 17 March 2014

My first words...as a copywriter

As with all these things, it started on a lake in New Zealand. I was on a boat, exuding effortless nonchalance by taking endless delighted selfies of myself on the deck when another guest offered to take a photo of me. ‘Thanks,’ I said. She dutifully took my iPhone and snapped away before passing my phone back to me. I never saw the photos, so I can’t comment, but based on the inadequacy of her spatial awareness during the iPhone handover, I assume they weren't much good. My iPhone flew with remarkable speed into the lake, and the other guest turned to me, horrified, to explain that I ought to have purchased travel insurance. 

I returned to London and wondered where I was going to get the vast sums to purchase a new iPhone from. I mooched about a bit, wondering why an English Literature degree hadn't led to incomprehensible worldly gains. ‘You should do copywriting,’ one of my friends suggested.


‘Sure,’ I agreed happily, not being one to let irritating quibbles such as not knowing what copywriting was stand in my way. ‘I should.’ I woke up early, filled with a sense of vigour and purpose (my flatmates, who have full-time jobs, are less than courteous towards a freelancer’s schedule) and looked into copywriting.

Copywriting is the art of creating words for a purpose - the copywriter carefully considers their client’s needs before crafting a bespoke solution. Naturally, I sent out a blanket covering letter and CV to every copywriting agency I could find. I received several replies, but none as disarmingly friendly as Barnaby Benson’s, who encouraged me to come into the office and see him.

It’s the start of my second week at Barnaby Benson Copywriting, and so far I have learnt the following:
  1. Copywriters drink an inordinate amount of tea.
  2. There is nothing more satisfying than finding the perfect expression.
  3. Tone of voice is like pornography - I can’t define it but I know it when I see it.
  4. The life of a copywriter is one of endless glamour - I’ve already been to Leicester and a small town outside of Brighton.
  5. The tiniest of changes - a comma removed, ‘the’ substituted for ‘a’ can change everything.
  6. No-one else really understands what we do. A client who wanted some script changes encouraged me to do ‘the clever stuff’.
  7. In a small office, everyone notices what you snack on.
  8. Editing is a hundred times easier than creating.
  9. In a copywriting agency, the pedant is king.
  10. If I continue to spend so much on lunch, it’s going to be a long while before I buy my new iPhone.  

A red pepper is a perfectly acceptable snack.


  

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