Sometimes copywriting’s easy. And that’s OK.

September 5, 2014 •
Fast copywriting is ok

Today I wrote some copy, and I got it in one hit. No brain-strain, no doubts, no second-guessing, no umming-and-arring, no trial-and-error. I just banged it out, and it was good.

Why does easy make me uneasy?

Then I started feeling guilty.

“How can I justify charging full price for this, when it came out so easily?”

Actually, I’m not sure “guilty” is the right word. Perhaps I just started second-guessing the lack of second-guesses?

“How could it be good if it wasn’t painful?”

Or maybe a little of both…

SHOULD I be uneasy?

So I had a bit of a think about it. Does the client care how long it took me to write? How easy it was? No. All they care about is whether it’s good.

Then is it good? Well, I certainly think so. I actually revisited the copy after I sent it. Pulled it apart, in my head, to decide whether I would have done anything differently if I’d had more time, or if it were my business I was writing about. And honestly, I don’t think I would have.

I think it just came out right-proper, the first time, and I should just accept it.

Then why was I?

Of course, then I started thinking about why I had doubts in the first place. (If you know me, personally, you won’t be surprised to hear that. My (meta)mind is a very troubling place! 😉 And I came to the conclusion that it was simply because I’m most proud of the prose I have to work hard for. That’s the stuff that’s really mine, that really proves my worth. The stuff that comes easy is just my writer’s brain instinctively doing its thing. Being proud of that would be kinda like being proud of my hair colour, my dashing good looks or my Chris Hemsworth physique.

Do you do the same?

Is this a writer thing, or is it just me? Do you doubt yourself in this situation?

Feel free to comment...
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Vikki wrote on September 5th, 2014

I get really frustrated and sulky when something takes longer to write than usual - give me easy any day! #copywritersunite

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Desolie wrote on September 6th, 2014

I'm always surprised, Glenn, when I find the words flowing easily. Perhaps my brain has been thinking about it before I was actively thinking. Perhaps it's a familiar subject. Perhaps my writing skills are improving. Whatever the reason, I'm not complaining. But yes, the doubts and questions arise: did I miss the point? should I charge full price? What conundrums copywriters face!

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Glenn Murray wrote on September 8th, 2014

Yeah, I think there are many times when your brain has already done a lot of the work, when you weren't consciously thinking about it. I like those times! ;-)

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Glenn Murray wrote on September 8th, 2014

LOL. Do you swear at your computer? (I do.)

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Shauna wrote on September 8th, 2014

Nope, I try not to smack the gift horse in the mouth! I love that feeling when things come together perfectly, without the hair pulling and swearing and pacing and stressing it won't get done on time. And I never question whether it's worth as much, just because it came into being with minimum strain doesn't mean it's of less value!

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Matt wrote on September 8th, 2014

Cheesy quote alert... I'm reminded of something a Japanese calligrapher said when asked how long it took him to write a few characters: 'my whole life.' The work isn't just the production right now - it's everything you've done to develop your skills up to this point. In a semi-related vein, I'm reading a great book called Flow: the psychology of optimal experience, which is all about people's experience while doing something they've mastered - playing chess, climbing rock-faces, writing... there's that sense of being equal to the challenge, but not bored. Worth checking out.

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Glenn Murray wrote on September 9th, 2014

Good for you, Shauna. :-) I'll call you next time I need moral support! ;-)

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Glenn Murray wrote on September 9th, 2014

That cheesy quote is exactly right, Matt. I'll check the book out, thanks. :-)

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Camilla wrote on September 9th, 2014

Hey Glenn, I'm reminded of this quote by Hemingway: "There is nothing to writing. You just sit down at a typewriter and bleed." I guess this could be interpreted many different ways, but two spring to mind for me: 1. Writing is hard. It is a labour. It requires a lot of pain to produce anything good. 2. Writing is part of you and comes naturally (it's in your blood, perhaps?). If things don't take as long as you think they would, you're either: a) really 'in the zone' b) improving your craft to the point where you can work much faster c) a combination of the two. Great post, as always Glenn!

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Glenn Murray wrote on September 9th, 2014

Hi Camilla. I like your interpretation of Hemingway's classic quote. I hadn't thought of the second one, to be honest! And yeah, I agree that when things are going easy, it's 'cos you're in the zone, you've refined the art, or both. :-)

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James Mawson wrote on November 16th, 2014

More than once I've had a client come to me with something he or she's stuck on, and I've said "well what are you trying to communicate with this?" and they respond. And then I write out exactly what they've told me in the words they've just used and the job's nearly done on the first draft. All that's left to do there is edit for clairty and pare out extraneous words. Usually there's a little more art to it than that. But occasionally it's so easy you could pinch yourself. The kicker is when the client says "I wish I knew how to write like that!" when all of what you've done take their words and give them a very light polish.

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