Thursday, 28 August 2014

Copy That! (Change Please - part 2)

As opposed to the ones on holiday.
The word epiphany is bandied about a great deal. You could argue that it has now joined the upper ranks of clich√©, proudly taking a comfy seat next to 'upping my game', 'this would mean the world to me' and the mathematically dubious 'I'm going to give it 110%'. Oh, go on then - let's also make space for 'I've been on a journey', which, ironically, doesn't travel well. 

However, epiphanies can and do occur. And, in my experience, once you've epiphed, it always seems so obvious.


So, picture the scene if you will. I have some freelance clients lined up, fees have been agreed and I'm good to go. Except that, rather than feeling elated, or just grateful (it's been a sticky month financially), I had that Sunday evening feeling you used to get as a kid when you used to think about school the next day. "What gives?" I ask myself. (I find talking aloud soothing because I've always enjoyed the sound of my own voice.) My reply is that some of the freelancing I do just isn't fun any more. I actually laugh then, but I can see what I mean. 

At this point in time, freelancing isn't a full-time occupation. I do okay out of it, for the work I undertake, although I don't remember the fun part being an essential component. I mean, how many people find their jobs fun even part of the time? 


Only...only now I realise that it does matter and I recall a conversation with our Dad, back when I was unloading lorries for a living. "No one enjoys their job," he assured me. He then qualified it by telling me about how a Radio 4 programme only found one person who really enjoyed their job - a man who made wooden wagon wheels using traditional tools and methods. (This conversation would have taken place around 30 years ago, back in analogue times.) 

I remember insisting that I was going to find a job I enjoyed, and how he'd gave me a knowing and slightly patronising smile, as if to say, 'Yeah, good luck with that.'



Anyway, back to the epiphanous present. I love writing, always have. The first thing I bought for myself out of my savings, when I started working, wasn't a suit, or a moped, or driving lessons; it was a typewriter. It dawns on me now that what I enjoy about writing is a blend of information and character; I like to add my own voice and make a piece of writing distinctive. That's much easier to do when you know the subject matter well - less thinking involved.

When it comes to copywriting I've been a bit of a generalist.

 Subjects I've written about include: Sushi, yoga, poo, voucher discounts, matchmakers, relationships, weddings, sex, VOIP, PTSD, exhibitions, technology and software, ageism in the workplace, privacy, start-ups, interior design, website design, social media, branding, life-long learning, online dating, private investigations, education, interviews, coaching, freelance writing, safeguarding, staff motivation, parental engagement, exercise, cycling, art, health, green living, green tech, chickens, creative writing, big data, cycling, comedy writing and creativity.

What can we learn from this? (Apart from my range, versatility and suppressed humility.)

1)    Become the writer you are (and not just the writer you think others want you to be).

2)    Get noticed for who you are.

3)    Develop your own, unique style. Whatever I write, when I have a free hand to create the voice of the piece, it's more often than not a conversational, informal tone with a sprinkling of humour. That's the bit that makes it fun - adding character to content.

I know what you're thinking: whatever happened to part one? It set up home here:



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