Are copywriters sad people?

If you say you’re a train spotter, people call you an ‘anorak’.  Stamp collectors provoke the same reaction. If you’re fascinated by computers, you’re a labelled a ‘nerd’ or a ‘geek’.

But tell people you’re a copywriter and WOW! It sounds impressive, doesn’t it?  You might bask in admiration and wait for cries of “That’s amazing.” “You’re a professional writer?”  Of course, a lot of people don’t understand what copywriters do, so you can come unstuck when they realise you don’t write best selling novels, but it’s fun while it lasts.

A question we’re regularly asked is …

“What’s it really like to be a copywriter?”

So I’m going to drag copywriting out of the closet and say … the average copywriter is probably the geekiest and most anorak-like person you’ll ever meet.

Shocked?  It’s true. Copywriters have to be fascinated by the dull, boring everyday things other people take for granted.

When ‘The Client’ commissions you to write about their latest widget, you get excited.  Said widget might be the smallest cog in the biggest wheel, but while you’re writing about it, it’s the sexiest thing on earth.  You think about nothing else. You talk about it. You might even dream about it.

As a copywriter, the more fascinated you are by the seemingly mundane, the more passionately you can write about it.

One day, I watched a shopper put some Pringles into her supermarket trolley.  (#Anorak #Alert)  Should I tell her?  How I stopped myself, I really don’t know. You see, I KNOW HOW THOSE CARDBOARD TUBES ARE MADE!

Santa’s Grottos in department stores are the same. I know more behind-the-scenes secrets than Father Christmas and his elves combined. And don’t get us started on extreme pressure gear oil. Or Peruvian alpaca breeders.

Of course, if you’re a mere mortal and not a copywriter, you might find this hard to understand.
Let me tell you a story …

A long time ago in the dark days before the internet, I had a friend who was a freelance writer.  We used to slope off to the local for a ‘pie and pint’ now and again.

One day, he was very excited. He had a new project. He had been commissioned to write an article on the most fascinating subject. He just couldn’t wait to get started.  What was he writing about?  I’m not telling you … yet.

The secrecy that surrounded this was worthy of James Bond, M and MI6.  Talking about it was akin to breaching the Official Secrets Act.  Manufacturers and their customers were hard nuts to crack.  Research almost turned into industrial espionage.

But the truth will out.  And what a fascinating story it was.  Even the nation’s economic growth and decline could be charted by this humble product! The more in circulation, the more buoyant the economy.  But in recession, they were few and far between.

Guessed what it is yet?  I think it’s fascinating, but then I’m just a sad copywriter.  And I rest my case.

Scroll down to find out …


Blog post by Joy McCarthy


Picture credit: 123RF









 Wire coat hangers!

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