6 Reasons Why You Should Write About What You Love &
(Why I Don’t Work as a Copywriter)
Starting and managing a successful freelance writing career while writing about things that interest you, things that you love, is the central theme of this blog. Yes, it features articles about writing and blogging (writing better, finding writing jobs, productivity, marketing your writing, reviews of writing/blogging-related books and products….etc.)
But it doesn’t include any articles about how to become a better copywriter/commercial. There are great blogs on the subject and if you are interested, I strongly recommend you check out the following writers’ blogs (I go to their blogs when I need information on how to write better copy- I have blogs and the pages and my product reviews need good copy after all. I just don’t take copywriting jobs.)
Some of My Favorite Copywriting Resources
– Carol Tice – Make a Living Writing
– Peter Bowerman – The Well-Fed Writer
– Ruth Zive- Ruth Zive Copywriting
So having left that broad topic (copywriting/commercial writing) to the experts, let me tell you why I don’t do it: I just don’t enjoy it!!
Yes, it is a lucrative field, especially if you can educate yourself well – including learning how to get clients that pay well (and you can establish a good, professional relationship with).
But don’t think that I’m a stranger to the field or that I made up my mind without trying. I took the class at university (I double-majored in Business and Advertising so copywriting was a part of the curriculum), I constantly read the tips of the blogs mentioned above along some others) and I applied to copywriting jobs (back when I thought the only way to find writing gigs was to reply to job ads, and I was trying to get clips.)
I didn’t enjoy it one bit. Not the class, not the jobs. I’m not motivated or inspired.
Being a copywriter – freelance or otherwise- would feel like any other corporate job to me. And I hate cubicles, fixed working hours and supervisors. I’d be miserable doing it, even though it is writing. So I don’t.
I’m guessing you too chose to be a writer, because you love writing. You probably couldn’t stop even if you tried. It doesn’t matter if you write fiction, non-fiction or both. And this post is still relevant if you do like copy. Because the question remains: Which would you rather do: Write copy for a website whose topic bores you to death, or a website that you (would) enjoy reading?
So whether you like writing copy or not, below are 5 reasons you should write about what you like:
1) Researching becomes fun. After all, you are writing about something you love finding about- whether it is to find a good query idea or not.
2) Researching is easier. It is much easier to dig deep into your target publications archives because a) there is a chance you are one of the subscribers (so you won’t have to add that to your expenses) or if it is a free publication, or solely an online publication, you probably read a lot of it anyway.
I don’t know about you, but if something has given me a good time and/or extremely useful information, I instinctively internalize it. This is a lot more convenient than getting lost in the research about something that puts you to sleep or frustrates you to no end.
3) You can put yourself in the readers’ shoes more easily. This is closely related to the first two reasons. The right slant is all about knowing the magazine and its audience.
4) Coming up with ideas is easier. You know the audience, you know the magazine, you know the subject. Now you have everything you need to start brainstorming. Ideas will come naturally. And after you’ve got your ideas, you’ll adjust them with the right slants.
There are some publications that cover topics I’m interested in, and even though I studied them quite a bit, I haven’t been able to get my queries through yet. Why? I had good ideas, but not the right slants. And even though I did some thorough researching, those weren’t publications I read regularly, so it was harder to get to know the target audience as well as I needed to.
5) You will have fun and you’ll be paid to do so. Below are the lines from a scene from the movie Catch and Release. The guy, Fritz, works in advertising and his hobby is photography.
Fritz: I used to take pictures all the time.
Grey: What happened?
Fritz: Started getting paid for it. Took all the fun out of it.
But unlike our friend Fritz above, getting paid had the opposite effect on me. That effect is reason number 6.
6) Writing has just become more exciting, challenging and fun for me after it became a paying profession.
For instance, I wrote for Freelance Switch three times (my 4th article will be published in May). And when I pitched to guest post for Carol Tice, I had read more posts than I could count. So at first it wasn’t about studying it as a publication, but to learn everything I could about making a living writing.
But before I got the pitch, I dug deeper. I analyzed the tone, word count, headlines, philosophy, other guest post articles…
I got the gig, and the best part was that %75 of my work had been done before I started writing. It was published, and it also appealed to another freelance writer I admire: Ed Gandia, co-writer of The Wealthy Freelancer. He wanted to use my article in his e-book Land Work Now (whose review I’ll publish here pretty soon, and my article is there, unchanged.)
No matter what you are writing and who you are writing for, you need well-targeted and marketable ideas. These Ideas have to appeal to the publication’s readers. The process of finding your ideas and slants, and ultimately querying, gets easier if you at least have a little bit of passion/enthusiasm about it.
I thought writing advertising copy would be exciting when I was taking introduction classes where we analyzed the good, the bad and the ugly of ad copy. Some of the good were just amazing, and they did wonders. Two of my favorites are below.
I don’t think these ideas would have come if the people behind it hated their jobs. I’m just saying.
What about you?
Do you love what you are writing? Do write about what you love?