What The World Thinks of Copywriters

March 15, 2016 § Leave a comment


Writers have historically been seen as a glamorous lot. Quite, quite mad but in possession of a certain louche allure.

Copywriters, on the other hand, are cloaked not so much in mystery as general apathy. No one really cares who or what we are, even though they consume our pitiful offerings on the daily.

I’m being bitter. It could be worse. A fair while ago I saw what the world thinks of recruiters. Someone had tweeted some Google suggestions for “Recruiters are…” and they were pretty much what you’d expect.

 

As a person of immense self-interest and not insignificant self-doubt, I decided to self-flagellate with a quick search for “Copywriters are…”

You won’t believe what happened next. (You actually will because I have pictorial evidence, as well as time-stamped embedded tweets linked to legitimate Twitter accounts.)

We’re not even sure what we think about ourselves

 

I was quite pleased with that result. Rich, in demand, well paid, exempt from…things. Much wow! But then I realised: these things are all questions. Even though I searched for ‘Copywriters are’, I got dealt a load of questions.

No one actually knows what we are. Not even us.

As a community of over-analysing, neurotic headcases (OK, maybe I’m projecting), this seems fitting. We kind of know what we do but we’re still having an identity crisis. The rest of the world just has no idea – for all they know, we’re all millionaires exempt from paying tax and wearing ties.

Writers are…

I took part in a passive-aggressive whispering bitch fest in the old Twitter DMs a while ago. The subject up for debate: is a copywriter a writer? Should a writer of the words we call copy be proud – nay, honour-bound – to say “I am a copywriter”?

I think we’re a mixed bunch. I’m happy to say I’m a writer but it leaves quite a bit to the imagination, like saying “I’m a scientist”, which I’m prepared to bet no serious practitioner of science actually does. Copywriter may get a response of “So…you do them trademark thingies?” as my copybuddy Kady has moaned about, but it’s at least a genre. I don’t actually get called this at work: my job title is content writer. But in my mind, I’m a copywriter. Always.

For me, it’s about solidarity. We’re quite a low-key bunch and I enjoy the quietly noble club we’ve formed, growing and mutating with each new acquisition welcomed into the fold. Before I found #copywritersunite, I thought copywriters didn’t mix much and mainly stayed at home swigging Bailey’s out of their tooth mugs while peering through red mouse eyes at the squiggles of tracked changes. Like me.

At a #copywritersunite night last year, we enveloped a new mouse-eyed freak in our awkward, clammy embrace. She’d never been before; didn’t know a soul. Another copybuddy and I gathered her up and made her drink prosecco and eat burgers with us. Now: Twitter friends for life. Because she identified with #copywritersunite. She identified as a copywriter.

 

Besides, from the image above – who the hell wants to be a writer? People think writers are freaks, it would seem. Writers are lazy, lying good-for-nothing dreamers. In contrast, copywriters are hardworking, lying good-for-some-things dreamers. At least we get out of bed in the morning. Most mornings. Some mornings we even take off the pajamas. Some mornings we go so far as to put other clothes on to cover our nakedness.

Writers are the engineers of the soul.

 

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