Writers don’t like changes because they generally think of their words as children. Not a big secret, but not necessarily a bad thing. I do believe that for copy to be authentic and persuasive, some degree of personal attachment is essential. Then, and only then, can a good writer let it go.
As copywriters, we know our words aren’t children, yet we often think of them that way. We hope readers treat them with the same respect we do.
- It’s not all about you (except when it is). This is a crucial point. Before copy is submitted for approval, chances are, a copywriter will compose, re-read, and refine his or her content many times. So don’t judge copy like Caesar callously deciding whether the gladiator lives or dies. Know that there is usually a personal investment at stake.
- Having writing talent doesn’t make you a talented writer. That’s what you risk when anyone with a simple command of the language can tell you it stinks. I think most writers have to learn to stand their ground to some degree, but they also need to acknowledge and incorporate suggestions when it makes sense to do so (or when it is required). Grit your teeth when you receive this feedback — especially if it comes from the person who writes the checks — and you’ll often find a way to improve upon your original draft.
- Everything you compose will get used, eventually. A great, but passed-over headline will always find its way into another project — maybe for another client at another job. The same thing goes for clever phrases unused due to space limitations. This short-term loss can be your gain if you have right mix of patience and persistence.
Originally from Toledo, Ohio, Gerald Northup has written professionally in the fields of advertising, marketing, social media, and corporate communications since the early ’90s. For a look at his blog posts and social media articles, as well as TV, radio, print, and website samples from his online portfolio, visit gnorthup1979.wix.com/44words.
Jerry is also a talented guitarist, an avid tennis player, and a lifelong student of linguistics.
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