37 things I’ve learned from a career in copywriting

Jonathan Wilcock

The longer you do something, the more you learn about it.

So after more than 300 years in the business, here are more of my learnings.

Anything I’ve missed out, please holler.

37 things I’ve learned from a career in copywriting

1) The mighty are just as likely to fall as the humble are to rise.

2) You may get lucky at some point, but nothing is more reliable than good old, honest hard work.

3) Everybody’s bluffing to a certain extent.

4) Taking yourself seriously is the shortcut to an early grave.

5) As soon as you think you know it all, some bugger comes along and proves you don’t.

6) It doesn’t matter what new gizmos they come up with, you can’t beat a good idea.

7) The more you write, the better you get.

8) There’s nowt wrong with a comfort zone (until it starts to make you feel uncomfortable).

9) There are 1001 ways of getting into this copywriting lark.

10) Experience and intuition are more powerful than online courses.

11) Life’s too short to take criticism of your work personally.

12) It doesn’t matter how good you are, someone won’t like what you do.

13) Slogging away at a keyboard all day every day, will eventually send you doolally.

14) If you don’t charge for thinking time, you’re not charging enough.

15) Don’t listen to all the advice, only the advice that touches something inside you.

16) Learn from others, but don’t compare yourself to them.

17) Know when to call it a day.

18) Everyone needs a friend or a mentor in this business, so be one.

19) Thank your lucky stars that you get paid to do something you love.

20) Every piece of work is a potential portfolio stuffer.

21) Don’t do it for the awards.

22) Listen to your clients. Even if you disagree, they have insights that you don’t.

23) If you’re not having fun or enjoying the challenge, something needs to change.

24) Get away from your laptop as often as you can.

25) Get enough sleep.

26) A sense of humour will take you a very long way.

27) Some days you can’t force it.

28) You are what you consume.

29) Intelligent trumps intellectual.

30) Pictures are easily as important as words.

31) Say thank you to anyone who gave you a boost along the way.

32) There’s only one way to conquer a blank page and that’s to start writing.

33) Listen to other opinions, you might just learn something.

34) You have a duty to your clients to fulfill the brief, work conscientiously and not be a pain in the arse. You have the same duty to yourself.

35) Write more than you read.

36) Find a decent sitting position, because you’re going to spend years in it.

37) There’s more to life than copywriting.

Jonathan Wilcock

Brand voice copywriter with more years’ experience than you can count on your fingers and toes.