The conversation usually begins like this:
“What do you do?”
“Im a writer.”
“Ooohhh.Cool! What do you write?”
“Web content. Brochures. Presentations. Reports–”
“Oh. Commercial writer.”
At this point the person sniffs, sensing rot in the air and I have become a woman sitting on her groc-er-ies, as Joni Mitchell says.
For years I resisted calling myself a writer for this reason: Copywriters are not real writers.
The copywriters I’ve worked with are among the most talented, creative, disciplined people I know. They also happen to be some of the funniest, caring, sensitive and productive people on the planet. Halifax’s Eric Wood springs to mind.
The conversation usually ends with:
“Maybe someday you’ll get to write for yourself.”
While I appreciate the sentiment behind that thought, it makes me bristle.
I/we are working for ourselves. Even if we’re working for an agency. We’re driven to find a beautiful, creative solution to a problem.
Some of us may have a novel clawing its way out on weekends, but in the meantime we’re reaching into our souls and working with integrity to help people who trust us.
Doesn’t sound like rob-er-ry to me.