Copywriter’s Constipation

 - by JK

Sometimes it’s hard – even after being a copywriter for 14 years – I don’t have it easy all the time.

Often, when I’m tasked to write something, I can immediately get cracking. Words swiftly turn into sentences, which leads to paragraphs. Some jobs take minutes, other hours and the rest days, but the word-flow is constant and premeditated.

I know exactly where I’m heading, and I’m usually pretty confident that the client will appreciate my take on their product or service.

There are times however; I’m left staring at a blinking cursor. Minutes turn into hours before I write even a single line of copy, which I re-hash over and over again until I realise that I’ve actually been watching TED talks the whole day.

I curse myself for being an idiot. The client has trusted me and I can’t even string a couple of decent sentences together. Idiot!

Writer

... or watch TED talks

These are the days when self doubt creeps up stealthily and I conclude that I’m not really a good copywriter after all. Then I shut down for the day and grab a… errr… cool, refreshing beverage, pondering whether I should have become a word-challenged pilot instead.

Another day dawns and the struggle continues, despite the looming deadline.

Then I stop working on the copy and start looking at the product or service I am writing for, just to see if there’s any inspiration hidden within the brief, e-mail conversations or materials.

Nothing. Zero. Zilch.

Finally it hits me. Maybe it isn’t me; maybe it’s the product or service that’s flawed in some way that my internal sensors aren’t being activated.

A weak product or service is the antidote to inspiration. Even the world’s best copywriter can’t turn a Proton into a Toyota in the eyes of the consumer.

If I can’t write a reasonably good piece of communication that promises some decent benefits to the consumer, perhaps the product or service needs fixing.

But of course, I can’t tell that to the client. Can I?


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