Fear & Copywriting On West Huron: An Anxious Journey Through a Monday in Agency Land
9:00am*: Still shaking off the melatonin hangover, I saunter slowly into the office and hit the coffee machine. Hard. Cause it’s almost status meeting time, and it behooves one to be at your caffeinated best. I make my way to my desk, boot up the ol’ top, scope the hit list, take a few notes on what I believe priorities are and what needs to get done, respond to emails, and then it’s the all-hands agency meeting.
10:30am: By this time, one of two things has happened. I’m either untucked oxford deep in a stack of jobs to proofread, or have been summoned to a concepting meeting to help create the next big idea. Let’s be honest, both are fun. And important. A typo can cost you everything, and so can a bad idea. This is really the juxtaposition of an agency copywriter. You have to be detail oriented enough to catch the most minute and mundane mistake, yet abstract enough to sell the idea that talking hamsters can pontificate on the benefits of dish soap. And you must be able to shift your mindset seamlessly.
12:00pm: Lunch time. Which for me typically means crying eating at my desk, headphones turned up to 11, and trolling reddit my favorite advertising and copywriter pubs. There’s plenty out there, but a few of my favs: Copyblogger and HubSpot and of course Ad Age. Some of the best writers and idea generators out there are voracious readers. I think I heard that on TV.
1:00pm: While lost in thought about how awesome it would actually be to own a talking hamster, someone from our Account team usually reminds me that I owe them more headlines for a project due today. So I get to spend a few hours thinking, typing, making puns, rhymes, alliterations and hyperbole, and re-learning how to use my Roget’s Thesaurus. Besides anxiety coffee, Roget’s is a copywriter’s best friend. (Pro tip for you young’uns: get the hard copy and learn how to use it before you use the online version).
3:00pm: More proofing, headline creating, and body copy tweaking. Sometimes an argument with the Creative staff breaks out over the use of the serial comma. Either that, or I’m working with the Art Department to put the finishing touches on a project before client review. Sometimes copy is too long, too short, or just plain doesn’t work the visual, and we work as a team to make it right.
5:30pm: More than likely I’m still not satisfied with my ideas from the morning’s concepting session, and I put more time into it. This means more research. Which is also a copywriter’s best friend. Exploring anything and everything about a topic, place, word, phrase, feeling, product, history, customer base, or anything that strikes you as even remotely interesting, needs to be investigated. I take notes on these things, let them marinate in my noggin, and try to put context to them so they’ll make sense for the client, their customers, the product, and the desired reaction. When I feel I’ve gotten to a good place, I shut ‘er down for the night, and hop in the car to head home. This is usually when something “brilliant” pops into my head, and I have to pull over to text myself the idea before I forget.
The best part is, I get to do it all again tomorrow.
*Give or take 15 mins. Mostly take.
This post was written by D. Sawmiller, Senior Copywriter at PUSH 22.