POSTED BY Belinda (The Copy Detective) on July 16, 2014 - No Comments
I recently got a direct message from a fellow copywriter, Denise Mooney, asking me if she could tag me in a blog hop…. Sure thing, I replied. Followed quickly with, What’s a blog hop?
It turns out a blog hop is like a blog chain mail but it’s a great way to see different bloggers answer the same questions and get a behind-the-scenes peek at how we roll. You can read Denise’s ‘Why I Write’ blog here.
And here are my thoughts on the subject.
What am I working on?
Right now, I’ve got a few copywriting projects on the go. I’m writing a website for a company that sells fire alarm parts, an autoresponder series for a roofing business, I’m editing newsletter content for a training company and finalising some web copy for an interior designer.
The biggest project I have is working with celebrity photographer, Gina Milicia, on her fourth book. I’ve been the copywriter and editor on her other three books (sold through the Digital Photography School) and I’m loving it. She’s really great to work with.
I’m also working on some exciting changes to Copywrite Matters. Later this year I’m launching a series of online master class workshops to help people who write copy get better at it.
They are going to be very interactive, activity-based sessions. So people will learn and then do, and I’ll be critiquing and advising them as they are applying the concepts.
(Shameless plug but it’s my blog, so I can.) If you’re interested in hearing when I launch, pop your details down here: http://www.copywritematters.com.au/learn-copywriting/
How does my writing differ from others in the genre?
I’m a very conversational copywriter. How I sound in your head right now is how I sound in real life (assuming you’re hearing me with an Australian accent, of course).
Naturally, I don’t write client copywriting in my voice and that’s why I like to talk through each copywriting brief. When I can hear the voice of the client – even if the brand voice is slightly different – I can write in that voice.
It’s important to inject some personality into each piece of copy. That doesn’t necessarily mean jive-talking but the words have to mean something. They have to be the start of a conversation in someone’s head, a conversation that gets them to take some action.
Why do I write?
I could tell you that I write because from an early age, words have bubbled up inside me, bursting to be set free. Or that I’m so creative that I need an outlet to express my totally amazing, creative ideas.
Both would be big fat fibs though. (Sorry)
The truth is, I write because people pay me to. A girl’s gotta earn a living, right?
But behind that very commercial hard fact is that since I began to focus most of my days on the task of writing, it has changed the way I think. Now, I tend to organise my thoughts on paper and writing helps me think concepts through.
I also enjoy the process of writing. I enjoy the process of choosing the right word to give a sentence the right cadence and rhythm.
How does my writing process work?
For copywriting projects, I always start with research to get me in the right headspace. I read through my copywriting brief so it’s fresh in my mind and then I devote some time to finding out if there are any big gaps in my general understanding of the topic.
You might say that research is code for procrastination but it’s more like easing slowly into a hot bath. I try not to spend too much time early on as over-researching really is just procrastination.
I map out some key points for a page but do most of my thinking as my fingers clack over the keyboard. (See previous question.) I write without editing and never sit back pondering the perfect phrasing so early in the process.
My first drafts are all about getting ideas down and I’ll often add notes that say, “SOMETHING SOMETHING – FINISH THIS SENTENCE” or “FIX THIS – IT’S CRAP”. The key is to not slow myself down.
After the initial flurry of activity, I go back to the brief and check out my client’s competition to make sure there aren’t any better ways of talking about the topic at hand.
Then I edit. The more experience I have writing, the more time I spent editing. This the polishing stage when I mull over words and phrasing. I delete – a lot – asking myself if every word is needed.
I always send copy to a client if I find myself spending too much time making really minor edits in the first draft. I call that “twiddling the knobs” and it can suck all the time out of a project, if I let it.
For blogs, I’d like to say my blogs are very well planned but you probably get the feeling from my responses so far that I think while I type. I usually start with a headline or idea and just see where it takes me. Sometimes, it’s a very different place from where I expected and I save my original headline for next time. I like flying a bit looser on the blog.
Of course, I research and edit just the same as for my copywriting work but it tends to be a little less time. I’m wary of not producing content that can be seen on 100 other copywriting blogs so I like to have my ideas down before I research. And editing? Well, I don’t allow myself the luxury of spending hours editing my blogs. I’m often writing at the last minute and/or I have lots other deadlines to meet!
So that’s me.
How about you?
I’ve tagged Bek Lambert from Unashamedly Creative so be sure to head over to her blog and see her answers.
The Copy Detective