Copywriting: Is It The Right Choice For You?

By: Steve Dempster

Copywriting is a learned skill that, provided you have a reasonable level of intelligence and are prepared to work, almost anyone can learn. That said, almost anyone can learn to play the piano - but they won't get to Carnegie Hall! It's a discipline that's totally different in many ways to, say, fiction writing. Good copywriters are in almost constant demand and, at times, demand outstrips supply. Why? Well, many people want to write - but the majority want to write novels, short stories, poetry and the like. Maybe they see copywriting as not creative enough but believe me, that's just not true! Good copywriting demands high levels of creativity and an attention to detail that you may be surprised by.

Learing how to be a copywriter does demand time and effort, but that doesn't mean you have to attend college - there are many how-to books and online courses available that cover the subject of freelance copywriting. So have a look online, go to the bookshop, visit you local library (now there's a real goldmine of information!). Many people are wary of being a freelance writer and yes, relying on your own skill and confidence can be daunting if you're not 100% sure of what you know and that you can do a good job. What gets a soldier through a battle? Training and discipline, that's what. Without it, he's just a guy in a whole lot of trouble. With it, he stands a fighting chance. Freelancing is the same: arm yourself with skill, and confidence will follow in its wake. The rest is up to you!

Although most copywriting is concerned with advertising products, that's not always so. In any case, say you were given the contract to write the advertising copy for a new model of Mercedes-Benz, with all the massive investment that is commensurate with such a venture - wouldn't you consider that a pretty huge feather in your cap? And yet you're only selling a car, aren't you? Don't let anyone ever belittle your skills as a copywriter - you will have earned them, no matter what kind of copy you write.

Like most everything worthwhile, learning the skills of the copywriter take time (unless you're very talented, of course!). For we ordinary mortals, starting out means learning the basics. Let's face it, you wouldn't expect to take a racing car round Indianapolis just after getting your licence, would you? I'm not going to dress it up - it takes grit, dedication and practice. It takes guts. There may well be times when your enthusiasm ebbs to almost nothing. Will you ever get your first commission? Have you really got what it takes? Then the day comes when you're paid for your skills - believe me, that's a great day. The hard work has paid off - you're now a professional. You're treated as an expert, company CEO's defer to you in your field (now that really is a good feeling!) and, at the end of the project, you can look at promotional literature, professionally produced on heavy gloss art paper and say - 'That's my work!' It's hitting a home run in the final of the World Series - it's holing that last long putt to be the Masters champion, it's - well, let the moment come and you'll see what I mean!

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