Read all about it.

So this is Copywriting tip no. 95. I fancied a little headline action.

I once attended an interview with a Senior Copywriter for a major blue chip company. All of his questions were about books. Did I like to read? What sort of books did I like best? What was the last book I really liked? He told me that he never employs a writer who doesn’t have a passion for books.

Makes sense really. As I operate on a need-to-know basis, I often forget what’s happened in a novel I’ve read in the past – particularly if it was mediocre. I have to be reminded. And then it sounds like I haven’t actually read that novel – as was the case in this instance as I flailed to think of my favourite tales in the midst of Starbucks during the riots. All around us were losing their heads as I recounted the riveting Ripley novels in as much detail as possible.

A large part of our job is to process a huge quantity of information and refine it quickly for the customer’s benefit. You need to be able to grasp concepts and ideas in a jiffy. Hit the ground running. And that means you probably need to forget a lot of information along the way too, to make room for the new stuff.

But it’s also important to enjoy words. Reading is one of life’s greatest pleasures. It’s no surprise then that many copywriters are also authors, and many authors were also copywriters. Fay Weldon, Salman Rushdie, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Joseph Heller and Dorothy Sayers all worked as copywriters at one point or other.

So that’s the tip. Enjoy your words. May they be good ones.

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2 comments

  1. Becci Johnson · September 17, 2015

    I’m glad it’s not just me who forgets the plot of books they’ve read. I like your argument that it’s because you need to make room for new information, that sounds like an excuse to stick to. I don’t find as much time to read as I used to, and I think it does make a difference to my writing. There’s nothing like absorbing yourself in a book to give you fresh ideas and a new way of putting things.

    Like

    • ktltaylor · September 25, 2015

      Thanks for your comment! I host a book group and last night I drew a complete blank. The book hadn’t gripped me unfortunately so I had to rack my brain. It was The Mountains Echoed by Kite Runner author.

      Like

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