Chronicles of a (copy)writer: What I do

People often ask what it is that I do. “I write text for agencies and/or companies, in English,” is my short answer. In reality, though, it’s a bit more complicated than that. It’s uncomfortable for me to speak about my work as if it’s something special, because every job is special. Like all jobs, mine also requires skill and experience. As a copywriter, my task is to express clearly, concisely, and compellingly in words what a company, a person, a place, a product, or an idea is and does.

This week, I worked on pieces that talked about, among others, 1. agile transformation implementation, 2. technology solution for powering the intelligent home, 3. model releases and photo copyrights, and 4. Lake Barm in Bavaria. To be able to say something worthwhile about each of these unrelated topics, to be creative and come up with content that engages the reader, I need to have more than scant understanding of each subject.

So I research, read, absorb. Mull. And let go, and come back to it after I’ve had some distance. There’s a lot of writing, and Googling, and staring intently at the screen while I listen to the “Classical Study Music” album on Spotify. The words churn. Sometimes they come pouring out of my subconscious unbidden, and the text writes itself. That happens once I have a very good grasp of the subject. I edit and re-edit ’till all the pieces click. Then off it goes to the client. Most first drafts require changes, because that is the nature of the beast, so when it comes back, the process repeats, in a smaller way.

With each project, my understanding of the world grows, and in relation, shrinks. As they say, the more you know, the more you realize how little you actually do know. And this, honestly, is one of the reasons why I wanted to freelance in the first place. I love to learn, and being exposed to wildly different topics that have ranged from Google Search Engine Advertising to kitchen appliances and the Internet of Things, from a state-of-the-art production facility to hunting, is a brilliant way to stay on my toes. I always look for new insights that challenge my worldview.

So yeah, this is what I do. “I understand something, then I transmit that understanding through words in a way that compels you to want to get to know it better.” That is my job as copywriter.

Hope this was helpful. On this note, I bid you a good start to the weekend!

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