The writer/copywriter conundrum

writing and copywriter

I didn’t set out to be in marketing. I definitely didn’t set out to be a copywriter. I liked stories, telling them, hearing them, watching them….and I wanted to be a part of that world. That was really my own motivation early on. As you grow up though, you realize that not everything you like in life can turn into a career. I would imagine this is the realization many people like me – accidental marketers and writers-turned-copywriters – made early in life.  

Is being a copywriter a sellout?  I don’t think so. It’s practical and it’s real. When I read Steven King’s On Writing there was something that stood out and rang true. King was describing what it meant to be a successful writer. What makes a writer, someone pounding keys like me, successful? He said that if you write something and pay the light bill, you’re successful. 

I got that. I still get that. And I think it is true. If you pay your bills with your words, then you’re a success. It doesn’t matter if you write the all-American novel, smutty romance novels, jingles, or user manuals. There’s no reason to romanticize being a struggling writer or act like one type of writing is superior. We’re all using our creativity and ability to string words together in an interesting way to live. That is success.

To that end, I think too many writers-turned-marketers forget that we can do more than write copy. It’s okay to write SEO copy at work and write short stories at night. There is time to do both. One doesn’t diminish the other. And if you’re like me, feeling drained by the heavy demands that come from writing 40+ hours a week, then you might discover something surprising…you DO have the energy. 

You may think that you’re mentally exhausted, but diving into your own creative endeavors has a way of filling back up the well, so to speak. Once you get over the mental trap of thinking you are too tired, too burned out, or that you’re a failed writer who defaulted to copywriting, you might actually start enjoying writing again.