The Copywriter’s Crucible
So it happened again.
With most demanding projects, it happens at some point.
I’d done all the research, put together all the pieces, the sales arguments, the benefits, the hooks and the most appealing approaches…
But then I hit a snag. Couldn’t get started with the actual writing.
After 15+ years in this racket… it STILL happens.
So what happens right at that point – and I have it on good authority I’m not alone on this 😉
It’s not exactly writer’s block, because the material is right there, the ideas are there…
But for some reason nothing’s flowing out. Just dry heaves of cliches, if that.
What’s missing is the VOICE.
Or is it even that? I know how they sound, how they want to be seen, their vernacular, the industry expectations… all of that.
So it’s not that either.
The final hurdle is PERSPECTIVE.
And that’s something only the copywriter can come up with, ultimately.
It may not happen alone, because after all nobody writes in a vacuum – it just doesn’t happen.
But what turns the situation into gleeful productivity…
Is discovering that perspective!
And to do that, you need to be patient in the moment
To experience that uncomfortable moment when you have all the pieces, but they haven’t yet aligned into a coherent whole.
So you stew. So you arrange and rearrange the pieces. So you talk with colleagues, maybe the client one more time.
But eventually, if you’re patient and diligent with your process, the light will come on.
The perspective finally emerges!
You know how to use this material to “give a speech” in writing. To communicate with an outcome in mind. What to include, what to leave out. It all follows from that perspective.
So this just happened to me, five minutes before I wrote this very thing.
If you do NOT do this, and rush into the job… the result will likely be lacklustre, boring, cookie cutter… somewhat effective yes, but not… quite what both you and your client were looking for. That oomph. That memorable twing and twang…
So learn to have that patience, actually exercise it until you ‘get’ that’s how perspective emerges.
And then you have what it takes to glue together a piece of copy. Or perhaps a string of them. You’ve gone pro, where you used to fumble.
And while that uncomfortable moment comes to even seasoned pros… you now know how to handle it.
Handle your boring moment, and turn it into something that excites both you and your client… and ultimately their customers.
It’s so worth it. So go practice. 🙂
PS. Part of that uncomfortable moment is inevitably that “what if it’ll be no good?” or “what if they’ll be really unhappy with me?”. Fear of customer reaction, basically. All the copywriting pros will tell you that the imposter syndrome never really completely goes away. It just changes forms and mutates, makes you work for it. It’s not fatal. You can learn to swim in it and win. So go forth and win over yourself, your client and their clients. Love this job.