Copywriting tip no. 97

Get some inspiration.

Some people find it sitting on the toilet. Others like to immerse themselves in books or websites or even staring out of the window. Everyone finds it on holiday (nice apostrophe use):

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But most creative professionals will be in agreement that having a curious attitude is the best way forward when it comes to finding creative inspiration.

Today is A-Level results day and it got me thinking about the time I received mine, and my subsequent English degree. My friend was obsessed about the ‘milk round’ and getting onto a graduate scheme with a blue chip company. In fact, several of my peers were certain that this was the way to achieve career success post degree.

All I knew was that I was going to travel and work abroad and come back when I felt like it. They all thought I was crazy. But that’s exactly what I did, like so many others, and eighteen months later I was back in Blighty wondering what the hell to do next. So I went off again.

My point is this: a good copywriter could do worse than to have lived a little. To have seen a bit of life, taking in as many different cultural experiences as possible: in short, getting to know people and how they live. As writers, we need to understand exactly who our audience is, straight away. And that’s where travel can be a total inspiration in itself.

We also have to adapt and switch into different modes at the drop of a hat. We work on all sorts of different client briefs, sometimes several in a day. These can be in any sector, so we need to be able to take on a lot of information in a short amount of time. And then we need to have big ideas. And if you’ve lived big, you can think big.

A Creative Director once said that you absolutely had to work in London or a big city to be in amongst it, to get inspiration from the deluge of communications that surround you. I’m sure this is true for some, and certainly at the beginning of your career, it can’t hurt.

I’ve always sought out inspiration through cultural activities of my own, whether it’s a trip to an art gallery, museum or the theatre. The internet is pretty spectacular for sharing ideas and trends, and it’s why twitter is jam-packed with creative and media professionals all clamoring for the latest nugget of inspiration gold (along with bags of self-promotion while they’re at it!).

So if you’re at the beginning of your career and wondering how to get into copywriting, stop wondering and start living. And if you’re a more seasoned professional, well. You already know what turns you on.

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A little typography, Cornish style.

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It’s oh so Cornish.

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Not so Cornish. The wonderful Eden Project has a dinosaur exhibition this summer. An absolute must-see if you’re down that way.

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