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Posts Tagged ‘Copywriting’

How to write with voice

December 12, 2010 6 comments

So we’re going to have a break from the usual gin-fueled rants on London’s public transport and actually talk about what this blog is supposed to be about: writing.

When you’re trying to write a novel, everyone tells you that the most important thing is to find your voice.  So.  What is this nebulous ‘voice’ of which I speak?  The thing is, it’s pretty hard to put your finger on.  It’s a sort of style, a distinctive voice and flow.  I like to think of it as your personality on paper.  It’s who you are, to people have never met you.  If you do it right, people will know who you are without having to read the by-line.

I struggle with this.  If you’ve been hanging around this blog long enough, you probably know that in my day job, I’m a copywriter.  And that means I’m not allowed to have a voice.  Or a style.  The mark of a good copywriter is the ability to write in lots of different styles.  So how am I meant to turn it off and on?

I’ve now decided that copywriting is great for helping develop voice (it does, also, have the happy side effect of ensuring I am able to pay rent and buy food).  It’s great because I’ve found that the best way to find your voice is to write lots of stuff in lots of different styles.  You’ll eventually find a style you are most comfortable with.  And then you’ll write like that for a while and it will start to morph and change a little bit.  And then it will be your own.  Hooray!  That’s your voice.

So.  It’s taken me over three paragraphs to tell you that the way to write with voice is…to write.  A lot.  Not exactly a revelation, but true all the same.  So happy writing.  In whatever voice is yours.

And…back!

November 22, 2010 4 comments

So this is one of those posts where I make all kinds of excuses about where I’ve been.  Except I’ve actually been accomplishing loads of important un-bloggy stuff.

I have a new job that starts next month.  I shall still be copywriting for a little agency, but it’s a little step up and I’ve been waiting for this opportunity to come along.  So, hooray!

I have finally moved in properly (except for the odd bit of IKEA furniture that still needs assembling–I somehow managed to build a desk backwards) to my new flat.

I have dug out my old MS from under layers of dust and began a massive edit (rewrite)…so I should be ready to re-query early next year whilst I work on the current WIP.

Now.  Enough of what I’ve been up to and on to what everyone else has been up to!  Nathan Bransford is no longer agenting (sob), but is still blogging (hooray).  His latest post talks about how to build an online following (number 1 is be consistent…HAHA—ABWP MegaFail).

And while I’m on the subject of MegaFails, Amazon listed a Pedophile’s Code of Conduct, which I initially thought must be a bit of a piss take, and promptly forwarded on to the work colleagues, including Creative Director et al.  But it seems the book is rather serious.  And as much as I vehemently oppose book banning ( Lolita is, after all, an amazing, if deeply disturbing, book), I think this may be going a bit too far.   Also, it’s now hit the top 100 list–probably boosted by people like me complaining about it.  Huh.

And in case you’re traumatised by the Pedophile book news, I’ll leave you with the funny and super-cute Ninja Cat (so you can sleep at night):

 

When writing well isn’t good enough

ABWP had a rough day yesterday.  She is still looking for a new copy day job, and has been fielding rejections.

(Also London was dark and cold, and when she tried to go running, it rained on her.)

Feedback has been this: her writing samples are good, interview responses are good, but others have more experience.

Darkness falls.

This got her thinking about her manuscript, and all the factors that go into finding an agent/publisher/etc.  ABWP has been of the firm belief that the key to getting published is to have a good story, and write it well.

But what if that is not enough?  The market is saturated?  The theme is unpopular this season?

MASSIVE HEAD EXPLOSION!!!

But then, today, London was all blue skies and sunshine.

And she thought:  I can’t change my experience.  But I can polish my portfolio.  I can change how many agencies I approach.  I can overhaul my cover letter.

And also: I can’t change the market.  But I can polish my manuscript.  I can change how many agents I approach.  I can overhaul my query letter.

And so.  The point, blogger friends, is this:

Stop stressing about the stuff you can’t change.  Do something about the stuff you can.

ABWP is still trying to follow her own advice.  But tomorrow is meant to be sunny again.  That should help.

The super-duper, never-heard-before secret to writing a novel in 30 days!

(Ha!  See what I did there?  Copywriting one-oh-one.)

Oh, sorry.  Did you actually want the secret?  Here it is:

Don’t.

I have been in the deep, dark pit of despair that is applying and interviewing for new jobs.  And have just turned down a job (direct-mail, selling white papers) to avoid writing headlines like this all day every day.  My soul cannot handle it.  But I fear my soul is slowly dying at the current job as well (though for other reasons).

Also, London has forgotten that it was sunny and lovely and we’ve all gotten out our summer dresses and sandals and reverted to winter!

On the plus side, however, on the tube the other day I saw a girl wearing white patent shoes, neon blue tights, neon pink shorts, a green-blue-and pink dress (all neon), a PATENT neon-pink jacket, and bright blue sunglasses.  Her boyfriend had green and blue hair.  Hooray!  A smile!

So blogger-friends, please pray (send good vibes, think happy-job thoughts, etc.) for me!

(I’m off to see what you’ve been up to)

What really matters to me?

April 21, 2010 9 comments

My manuscript (and all the ones to come).  The people I care about (love).  Creativity.  Freedom.  Feeling (and making others feel).

And then, somewhere down the line, comes this:

My career.

But in terms of time spent on each thing, the list reads more like this…

Career.  And then lots of other crap that sucks up time and I don’t even know where it all goes.  People.  And then all the vague ones that are big parts of everything else like creativity, freedom, etc.  My manuscript is scarily low on the time-list.

Huh.

Recent turmoil in my day-job has forced me to ask myself this important question.  The time I spend working/worrying about/etc. my career is disproportionate to how much it matters to me.

And don’t get me wrong.  My career matters.  A lot (though, lets face it, someday I hope to be a lovely, published writer, and then my career will be writing my books, which I love, love, LOVE anyway).  And I try to combine it with other things that matter (creativity, people, and freedom, etc).

But.

I have decided.  First, the things that matter most.  Writing (not day-job writing–MY writing), people, creativity.

What will get me to where I want to be more quickly?  Working on my MS.  Not working ridiculous hours at the day job.

So.  Resolution: I will spend a little time each day devoted to my top 2.  The Manuscript.  And people.

It doesn’t have to be lots.  Just a scribble on my notepad while I’m at work.  A moment to have a conversation instead of staying glued to my computer.

Baby steps.

So blogger-friends: what matters to you?  And how does the time you spend compare?

And also: what are you going to do about it?

A new copy day job?

April 19, 2010 4 comments

I have been busy looking for a new copy day-job (unrelated to the boss-catching-my-spelling-error incident detailed earlier) and have found that this has consumed me.

Why?  I do like my current day-job.  I like the people I work with and for.  I just know it’s time in my career to move on.  And now that I’ve made the big decision, I’m antsy.  Really antsy.  Not sleeping, neglecting my friends (blogger-friends do not despair!  My real-life, know where I live friends have been complaining too.  The word ‘intervention’ was mentioned several times), neglecting my manuscript, that I love, love, LOVE, until I had a MASSIVE HEAD EXPLOSION!!!

So.

I have been picking little bits of brain and hair off my bedroom walls and trying to piece them back together into something resembling the general shape of my head.

The job hunt continues.  An over-indulgence in gin has helped me resume sleeping, and has happily doubled as acceptable socialising with human-friends.  I am now off to reconnect with blogger-friends.

Copywriting FAIL!

March 24, 2010 4 comments

Discussion between me and my boss yesterday:

Boss: Thanks for sending that spreadsheet through.

Me: No worries. [bloody hate spreadsheets! Don’t understand having to use Excel for copy even if it is a content schedule]

Boss: [chuckle, chuckle]

Me: [sinking feeling of despair] What?

Boss: How do you spell “description”?

Me: [Complete panic as have absolutely NO IDEA how to spell “description” without lovely, helpful MS Word and lovely, helpful squiggly red line and auto-correct function] What? Why? [shameless stalling tactic as desperately open MS Word and type in “discription” –auto change to “description”]

Boss: I can’t believe I’ve caught YOU out on a spelling error [snigger, snigger]

Me: What? No, surely not!  Description is spelled d-e-s-c-r-i-p-t-i-o-n.

Boss: You’ve spelled it d-i-s…

Me: No! Really? Sorry, must be a typo…

Boss: You’ve done it about 50 times on this one spreadsheet

Me: [Bollocks!] it’s excel…copy&paste

Boss: [unsure of what was said here as drowned out by laughter]

Helpful interjection by co-worker: FAIL!

Me: Shut-up [immediate hunt on job-boards]

Huh.  Considering career change.