Sunday 28 June 2009

Top five favourite-yet-rarely-used words

Callipygian: having shapely buttocks.

Eldritch: weird, unearthly, ghostly.

Eleemosynary: relating to or supported by charity.

Gallimaufry: a mixture, a jumble, a medley.

Serendipity: making a fortunate discovery by accident.

(Best not to use them all in the same sentence).

Friday 26 June 2009

What's the point?

A little while ago I thought about writing a book. A book that explained the things I'd learned since becoming a copywriter. Well, you know how it is. Clients, friends and re-runs of "Mock the Week" have conspired to slow me down. I put a draft version of the introduction online a few weeks ago - and here's part of the unfinished first chapter.

What's the point?

Before you start writing, there's a question you need to ask yourself: why am I doing this?

I'm not talking about personal motivation, although I'll come to that another day. What's the purpose of the copy you're writing? Are you trying to sell something... or do you want customers to telephone for more information... or do you simply (although it rarely is simple) want people to think fondly of you?

If you're writing for yourself, you need to think about your aims carefully. If you're writing for someone else, they'll probably tell you what their aims are - but you might need to ask. You'll sometimes find that clients have a formal "briefing document" they send you. It'll probably be packed with irrelevant stuff about Pantone colours and image guidelines, but read it carefully. And if you don't get anything in writing, make sure you confirm the objective of the copy as part of your formal quotation. You are sending a quotation, aren't you?

Thursday 11 June 2009

Tuesday 2 June 2009


Last week I was on holiday in Padstow, which has certainly been changed by tourism - the Metropole hotel has towered over the town for many decades - but I don't think the new trend of 'gastro-tourism' has made the town a worse place. In fact, after a good value meal at the Rick Stein cafe and some excellent pub cooking at The Golden Lion, I struggled to find any discord or anything to complain about... except tourists who didn't know how to enjoy themselves.