The writer who became a copywriter: Things I learnt on the job – Part One

How Writers Work

So I read somewhere,

Creative without strategy is art. Creative with strategy is advertisement.

Can it be more apt? Not.

I was (am) a writer who chose to be a copywriter. Now, how does that work? An artist usually does not have a process. Or you can say that the process is the non-process. You can have spurts of maddening creativity while watching soccer, or wake up from the middle of a dream with a miracle. You have to wait for that sliver of brilliance to strike you, mostly unexpectedly. Externally, you look for inspiration at..say, strains of music, a sudden act of cruelty, a metaphor, doodles, a stray dog, leftover food. Internally, every artist is gifted with a gaping void. We work with this randomness, this complete sense of disarray to create blocks of text that should mean something. And it does, at least for the likes of us. Disorder can be inspiring for those who understand it.

Can a writer be a copywriter, honestly?

A more important question is, does the transition from a writer to a copywriter have to be tragic? Realistically? Yes.  Possibly? No.

How Possibly No?

First, let the word strategy not scare you. If you are a writer, can you say, without perjuring yourself, that you never, ever strategize your work? Do you not want it to have a certain specific sense of appeal? Invoke, this, that and those? Placate some feelings and invoke the other?

I do. I have.

Can we then, say, that this not a strategy?

It is but we never call it so. Free thinking souls will never call it so, but the truth of the matter is, it IS so. It has always been so, but only at our own discretion.

So, you become a copywriter. Now what?

Once you step into the shoes of a copywriter or intend to, it is important to accept the above-realized truth you may have evaded. No harm done, duality is but a way of life.

What changes? Instead of floating in the air, you are inside of a room.  You have a target group and an agenda to follow. What you write has to make sense to people, make you look good, make you stand apart, and most importantly, should be executable. Brilliant, non-executable ideas will go..nowhere. Remember, you are not acting solo anymore, you are with your peers, and coordination is mandatory. Art and copy will have to come together.

Any golden rules to remember?

Is it easy?

Yes and No.

You will have to know when to discard your verbosity and indulge in simplicity. Or the other way round. Reduce the ego, that always helps; remember you are learning something new, no matter your age. And understand that you have done this before, albeit differently, but you have done it in a different mould.

Be excited, because it is exciting. The science of this strategy is exciting, once you learn the codes. The magic of words is still there, everything is right there.

My list of what you need to do to fit in:

  1. Adapt
  2. Adapt
  3. Adapt

Darwin was right.

The writer Sheenginee Bhattacharjee, is a published author (Itch: The Beginning) and a copywriter at Watercrab. 

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