Some Work I’m Proud Of

May 26, 2016 § Leave a comment

One of my favourite things I’ve ever done has launched and I’m so proud. It’s had a really good reaction so far and it feels so good to just get it out there after so much fiddling about.

The campaign is about how parents can support their kids on the way to being safe drivers. It’s not just about paying for lessons and insurance; parents need to be thinking about how their own behaviour in the car influences their children at a young age, as well as helping out with finding the right driving instructor and doing private practice. That sounds arduous but not quite as arduous as months of visiting your child in hospital after they’ve had a terrible car crash.

There’s four more parts to come so the work is FAR from over but I’m excited to have so much great content to play with. You can read about what we’re doing on the ingenie blog and the first video from the campaign is right here:

The world of marketing can feel like a very hollow place when you get out into the woods and think about the fact that you’re just a talking animal. But getting to work on campaigns like this, that could really make a difference to young people’s futures, makes it way less bizarre.

A Slip

May 10, 2016 § Leave a comment

Been worrying about some things and it’s made me have a bit of a derma backslide. Nails are bitten to fuck too. It makes me angry at myself and it also makes me angry at the situation that’s caused it.

But hey – I am in control of what happens to me. If I am unhappy, only I can bring about a change. I just told a bunch of new copywriters that they have to fight for what they want – but I wasn’t doing it myself. Whether I get the results I’d like or not, I would rather try than live with myself in quiet disappointment.

I have my first bloody zumba class tonight. Can’t complain about putting on weight and not do anything about it, can I? I also have an assessment for counselling soon.

MOVES! Making them!

Let it never be said I didn’t hustle.

Short Stories

May 6, 2016 § Leave a comment

I hated short stories. I found them unfulfilling. I was stupid and blind.

Then I did Highbrow’s short story course. They sent me one a day – The Furnished Room by O. Henry, Eveline by James Joyce – and I realised I’d just been reading the wrong short stories.

I suddenly saw how incredible they are – like a snapshot of a situation; the perfect soundbite of verisimilitude. Rich, earthy, crystalline, unctuous description.

So, recently I wrote one for myself. It turned out to be a fairly long short story but it was one none-the-less. And today, I found a proper short story I wrote years ago. What was I thinking? I hated them, didn’t I?

I read it and thought it quite good. Good enough that I’ve published it on Medium, if you’d like a peek.

Read A Dying Sun.

Welcome to Copywriting: The Results

May 3, 2016 § 1 Comment

“We should do a talk.”

And we all nodded like mascots on the dash of a speeding bin lorry. I can’t remember if we were drunk but we agreed to the idea blindly and happily, considering it a wonderful plan to be worried about in the distant future.

Only Kady was intending to leave the country very soon. So Welcome to Copywriting, a one-day talk about the pitfalls and parties of the copywriting life, was set for one month hence. At that point, we still weren’t worried – a month is bags of time! Even when we got to the point of a day’s planning, we were still pretty buzzed about it.

When we got to one week to go, our confidence started cracking. Dibbsy had just got a new job and was trying to keep up with freelance at the same time. Chloe had Shakespeare’s birthday – a pretty big job for an agency in Stratford-upon-Avon. I had two conferences, a holiday and freelance. Kady was trying to move her entire life to Japan.


But somehow, we got there. The day arrived – a beautiful spring day in Brick Lane. The venue, a dusty health hazard of an attic, was perfect. So many people came that we were adding chairs. With it all going so well, I was vibrating with fear at such a high frequency that it’s possible I was invisible for most of the day.

We did it, though. I actually started my first presentation with the words “I’m shit at this,” to illustrate a point: that the things I feel I’m worst at are the things I try hardest at, and therefore usually end up doing OK in. Despite publically admitting to my terror and awkwardness, it did turn out a lot better than I could have possibly imagined.

People have been so kind. They seem pumped and happy, despite us saying a lot of things that could put you off copywriting forever. Our number one thing we wanted to push was that having friends in the copywriting community is pretty much the answer to any question you have. None of us is alone. We’re a family. We laugh and squabble and weep and give advice. #Copywritersunite is one of the best things that’s ever happened to me, personally and in my career.

I couldn’t do without you all, and I’m so happy to welcome so many more copywriters into the fold.

Welcome to Copywriting

The Case Against Reality

April 27, 2016 § 3 Comments

Hoffman: We’ve been shaped to have perceptions that keep us alive, so we have to take them seriously. If I see something that I think of as a snake, I don’t pick it up. If I see a train, I don’t step in front of it. I’ve evolved these symbols to keep me alive, so I have to take them seriously. But it’s a logical flaw to think that if we have to take it seriously, we also have to take it literally.

Gefter: If snakes aren’t snakes and trains aren’t trains, what are they?

Hoffman: Snakes and trains, like the particles of physics, have no objective, observer-independent features. The snake I see is a description created by my sensory system to inform me of the fitness consequences of my actions. Evolution shapes acceptable solutions, not optimal ones. A snake is an acceptable solution to the problem of telling me how to act in a situation. My snakes and trains are my mental representations; your snakes and trains are your mental representations.

I have long pondered this. Anyone who’s taken a sense-enhancing substance can tell you that what our eyes transmit to our brains on a normal day is not the extent of what we can see. If our perception of the world can be so drastically affected, how can our everyday perception be trusted? It can’t. 🙂

Go get your mind bent. If it doesn’t make you suddenly feel the world beyond our accepted perception, you’re boring and dead.

This is beautiful:

Hoffman: Physics tells us that there are no public physical objects. So what’s going on? Here’s how I think about it. I can talk to you about my headache and believe that I am communicating effectively with you, because you’ve had your own headaches. The same thing is true as apples and the moon and the sun and the universe. Just like you have your own headache, you have your own moon.

And this is astounding:

Hoffman: I can take two conscious agents and have them interact, and the mathematical structure of that interaction also satisfies the definition of a conscious agent. This mathematics is telling me something. I can take two minds, and they can generate a new, unified single mind. Here’s a concrete example. We have two hemispheres in our brain. But when you do a split-brain operation, a complete transection of the corpus callosum, you get clear evidence of two separate consciousnesses. Before that slicing happened, it seemed there was a single unified consciousness. So it’s not implausible that there is a single conscious agent. And yet it’s also the case that there are two conscious agents there, and you can see that when they’re split.

Within our bodies, we have two separate consciousnesses. Put two people into a room and have them interact, and we form another consciousness machine from four separate consciousnesses. Perhaps all of these (all the human consciousnesses in existence) are really part of one consciousness. Perhaps this network, making up one brain, is what the world IS.

For a long time, people have been saying there’s no God because that’s ‘impossible’. The trouble is, the more we learn through turning away from God and exploring science, the more we see that there are things outside our own capacity for perception and understanding. And that’s where God probably lives.

Horrible Things I Learned Today

April 5, 2016 § Leave a comment

Today I read two gruesome items:

  1. When you send your pet to be cremated, it gets chucked in with a load of others and you just get a portion of the collective ashes.  😥
  2. There was a crematorium in America that was found to be dumping bodies around the property instead of cremating them. The guy couldn’t explain why and was later found to have mercury poisoning from all the amalgam fillings.  😥



Dermatillomania Take 2

March 31, 2016 § 2 Comments

I wrote a while ago about my skin picking thing, which is a thing that sucks. Or it was a thing that sucked.

Yes, that’s right. I have a HEALED scalp. Picking in general remains and I’ve returned to throat clearing (remove one and another pops right up) but for the first time in two years, I’m not directly hurting myself.

I went to the doctor, you see. So simple! The thing one is supposed to do when one has a health concern.

I was ashamed; this is what perpetuated the problem for those two years. Two years of hiding it even from my boyfriend. Hiding the pain from my mam every time she dyed my hair. Not writing about it, in this place where I’ve been so honest.

Shame has quite a beautiful distinction from embarrassment – remorse. It’s a valuable emotion in the human range but so often it stops us taking steps that would relieve us of it.

Mental health is surrounded by shame. If I’d talked to my boyfriend or my mam a year ago, I would have come round to the idea of going to the doctor a lot sooner. It doesn’t matter now but it could matter in the future.

You see, this isn’t the first time it’s happened: four years ago, I had a seriously bad patch behind my right ear that I endured for at least a year and didn’t tell anyone about. When it finally gave me an ear infection, I went to the doctor. Antibiotics gave it a chance to heal and I didn’t go back to it.

I didn’t think I would be taken seriously. There is a pattern of projection with me: I don’t admit a problem fully so I don’t think other people will. Back in the panic attack days, it took two emergency ECGs to convince me that my mind was powerful enough to sabotage my body. That means it’s also powerful enough to stop too.

When I finally managed to mention it to my boyfriend, I started to break the barrier that had kept me in the cycle for so long. I began to write about it here, I discussed it with my mam and in my diary. At this point, the freedom of having admitted it allowed me to explore how sad it made me and realise I needed to stop.

It seems silly but it was making me so unhappy. This hidden pain, secret shame. I was being cruel to myself about it and not allowing any exploration of a solution. I really believed the doctor would say it was nothing – I even caught myself thinking maybe I should make it worse in the days before my appointment, so he would take me seriously.

He asked to see it and I thought “He’s going to think I’m being stupid,” but he didn’t. He said I’d caused a skin condition that would need treatment. He urged me to try CBT again. He asked if Citalopram was working for me.

I left so happy. I’d been listened to, I’d been given some solutions – in a 10-minute slot at an NHS health centre.

When I got home, I showed my boyfriend for the first time. His shock shocked me and I felt so stupid that I’d just dealt with it for as long as I had. I started with the steroid ointment I’d been prescribed, and the combination of it accelerating the healing and acting as a physical reminder was just enough for me to really try to give up the habit.

And I did. It’s been two weeks since I saw the doctor and I resisted long enough for my head to totally heal. Now there’s nothing to scratch and pick at, I’m barely thinking about it.

I think I’m free.

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