#ProCopyChat on Twitter asked for one bit of advice for copywriters; don't let perfect get in the way of good, I replied. It's important for us all to remember that.
We get a brief.
We read the brief.
We pace the room barefoot, fuelled by the finest Colombian (coffee, of course).
We pore over web-pages and leaf through books looking for that killer idea.
We then agonise over every word, full-stop, comma and clause.
We ditch our first draft.
We write something that won't ever get signed off, but is genius.
We delete the greatest work of our careers so far.
We play safe and write something we think the client or stakeholder will love.
We sweat over dangling participles and the preposition at the end of the sentence.
We remember no-one cares about proper grammar and are more likely to bemoan the preposition "And" at the beginning of the sentence.
We stick to our guns and keep it in.
We send it back to the client with a little flutter of nervous butterflies in our tummies.
We pat ourselves on the back with a celebratory tweet.
But then your copy is returned with Track Changes and comments. It's not quite right.
We've not considered legal or technical aspects of the product. Or dogma means that your copy is too out there.
Sometimes you get comments that make no sense, are irrelevant or show no understanding of our art.
All that time spent creating the most perfect piece of work has been wasted, as someone else didn't think it was perfect.
The biggest problems copywriters face is no one gets what we do, we're extremely passionate about our craft and it's completely subjective.
More often than not, the copy I thunk out takes me, on average, about an hour. I read the brief and brainstorm through my fingers. Sometimes I crack it and sometimes I misjudge a client's appetite for creativity.
Everyone knows the first draft is bollocks, so I just use my best first draft as a starter for 10 to gauge what the client is looking for. And, as we all know, the brief isn't always as good as it should be, so they remember stuff when they read your copy that they should've put in the brief, but didn't.
My point is, a lot of work doesn't have a big audience and is of low value to a business. And the high-profile stuff has the world and his wife looking at it.
Stakeholders will always make both valid and invalid changes, so don't spend hours creating the advertising world's Sistine Chapel, when a simple lick of white emulsion is good enough.