Old habits die hard

Or so I thought. Until the hugsband badgered me into writing “copy” for a personal project we have taken on, that I have been far too lazy about getting kick-started. And suddenly I found myself tripping over my words, struggling to find a voice, and — worst of all — asking him to brief me right, so I knew what I was aiming for.

Six years is a long time. It is 1/5th my life, expended in the pursuit of a profession in copywriting. Surely it must count for something? Why is it then, that just six months since I gave it all up, do I find myself so lost, like a fresher all over again?

I always thought writing, any kind, was like putting on a my favourite pair of shoes. I slip them on, get in my comfort zone and I’m good to go. But maybe six years of trying to do that on the wrong path has left me wounded. And just six months of not doing it is enough to have it leave your system like an old pair you shed, never to look back on them again.

Writing is like swimming, or driving, or breathing. I don’t think I could ever forget how it’s done. Not just that, its something I cannot do without. But I find that I take time to wrap my head around certain kinds of writing. Sometimes I find some kinds of writing are easier than others. But of all the many kinds of writing I have indulged in, isn’t it odd that the one thing I have done for the longest, was the quickest to be forgotten?

Today, the old ghosts of wireframes, first drafts, website jargon, and the dreaded passive voice of marketing communication returned. And not in the comforting way like when familiarity sweeps over you and makes you feel right back at home, but in a way that scared the bejesus out of me. Reminding me of traumatic days when I just couldn’t “crack a brief”, or “find the punch” or the worst of them all, “write a powerful headline”.

I realised that copywriting is just plain impossible to do, now.

“Write it like you would in a blog post”, he said to me. And just like that the words began to flow again.

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13 Replies to “Old habits die hard”

  1. you know it will come. i have discovered i have the ability to turn on cultural theory speak like a freaking tap. it terrified me the first time! but now i just use it in the spaces where it is required, which thanks to my frou frou industry, happens often!
    ps. you and the bride have badgered me so much i decided o switch to WP. only WP itself doesn’t want me so HAH!

    1. But I doesn’t wants it to come!
      Trying to do it feels like Im trying my hand at nuclear physics — its that alien to me. Esp now that I have cut myself off. Nicely cathartic it has been!
      And what do you mean WP doesnt want you?!

      1. cannot find a single theme that allows me my simple requirements:
        1. no panel in the middle with the text and outside thingy. unless its transparent like my blogger
        2.two lines in header
        3. text centred in header
        4. everything lining up neatly on the left (ok not super scientific but i tried the bride’s theme and realised i hate it cos it wouldn’t line up)

            1. Dude, I havent paid a single penny for my theme! Every theme has its restrictions yes, but cosmetic nittygritty aside, the posting/drafting/comment management is a breeze. And I think thats what I like.
              Also I think my problem with Google is this horrible sense of Big-Brother-is-watching-you types. They want my telephone number and they want to sync all my accounts and out me, every chance they get!

  2. I really dislike copywriting and I think only a few people in this world can actually do it for a living. You should meet my other sister Jane (if she’s not off travelling). She too gave it all up for photography. You both would have a lot in common.

    1. Heh i did meet her and she told me abt it very briefly. If i wasnt so distracted by gayles kitchen aid and all that fondant she waved in my face i would have sat and had a chat with jane!

  3. I have finally understood the world of copywriters a little bit. Over the last three years I have been the unacknowledged copywriter for our business. Initially, it wasn’t much a little bit here a little bit there, but over the last year it’s crazy. I have to switch from writing a director’s report (which is all nice factual information turned into words) to writing creative material within a span of 24 hours. My hats off to all of you. I agree it’s not really like blogging or any other writing, though there is a story there.

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