How Writing Copy Taught Me That I Can Write Anything
Earlier this year, I started writing copy for a copy mill. This taught me pretty quickly that I could write about anything.
It was during the time when I’d dropped the blogged, dropped Twitter, and had finished a draft of my novel, so I wasn’t doing much writing for myself at all. I decided I’d make some money writing. In the process, I found out that I could write about anything. I mean, pretty much anything under the sun.
Advertising? Sure. Descriptions of vegan recipes? No problem! Random technical stuff? Sure, with a little research.
I even got to write a couple articles about writing. That was funny. I got paid for writing about writing. I’d been writing about writing on Laura Schmidt Books and making zero money. Now I could make six or seven dollars writing a quick, 500-word article about writing. At first I thought, Wow, you must’ve been doing it wrong this whole time.
Then I realized that while I could write about everything, there were many things I didn’t want to write about. All that advertising? Got pretty old after a short while. And writing about writing got old, which was something that surprised me. If I couldn’t force myself to write about writing to get paid, then why had I been writing about writing for over a year?
I’ve already talked about how my process of realization there. Try my article “The Numbers Game: The Rat Race, Influencer-Style,” and read my post about my new vision for Voyage of the Mind if you’re interested in how exactly it came all together.
But I haven’t yet mentioned the role that writing copy played in it all.
I wrote about a variety of topics.
And some of them, I found interesting. Others, not so much, as I’ve already mentioned. But writing descriptions of food? Really great! I love food, and I love cooking. Writing pieces about political or technological news? Awesome! I like politics and technology.
After a couple months, I realized something. I could write about all these things on my own platform. I could build my own thing. I could create it from ground-up. Sure, I wouldn’t get paid (at least not right away), but it would be mine. I wouldn’t be working for anyone. I’d always dreamed of being my own boss. And here was a good place for me to start.
Writing copy opened my mind. As someone who takes pride in having an open mind, it was humbling that it took copy to open mine.
When it came to writing, at least. I had the sudden realization that yes, I could write about anything, but also yes, I could choose not to write about some things, even if I was getting paid. And yes, I could strike out and do it on my own.
But it was deeper than that. Writing copy was a big ego boost. For the first time, I had technical markers that told me my writing was good. Clients rated me highly. They requested me for special jobs. My writing sample received the highest opening level available. I was actually a good writer, from a hard, raw standpoint. No query letter rejections or mean words on the Internet could tell me otherwise. It was something I’d already known, but I’d never seen the proof. Writing copy gave me the proof.
If you doubt yourself or your writing ability, maybe give it a try. Who knows what you’ll find out? At worst, you might discover that, well, you’re just as bad as you thought you were. But at best, you might find out that actually, from a technical standpoint, your writing is perfect. You just need to find the words. And you need to find the ideas. Then you’ll have something good going. Trust me.
If you enjoyed reading this article, tell me about it in the comments! Do you have any experience writing copy? (Another thing I picked up from copy-writing was SEO. I’m now pretty SEO-savvy, where I wasn’t before.)
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