In a perfect world. we’d all know our value. This is not a perfect world. Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt like an imposter. Me too. Especially as a copywriter. People either think I’m way smarter than I actually feel, or they simply have no idea what I do and how I do it. Either way tends to leave me at a loss for words sometimes (no pun intended).
Last week, it occurred to me: I can’t possibly be the only one who feels this way.
This is a confession. My own personal confession as a copywriter. Because (and here’s my first confession), I often feel inadequate when I feel like someone assumes I’m smarter than I feel like I actually am. Like all copywriters should be these awesome, wonderful, intelligent, creative, magical creatures who know the English language inside and out, and if I don’t live up to one of these misconceptions, I’m failing my own vocation. Like I’m not a ‘real’ copywriter if I don’t fit the pre-defined mold.
So, my putting these out there hopefully lets you know that you’re not alone if you ever feel the same way.
Creative writers such as novelists need to build their brand, and they often use social media as a key part of their brand-building strategy. Even Stephen King’s fairly active on Facebook.
Copywriters should do the same.
Why? Because we’re creative professionals. Whether you’re freelance or part of a company team, you are still your own brand. A one-person company that needs to keep it’s own Marketing Department running.
Incorporating a social media platform or two can help. And it’s not nearly as painful as a lot of my fellow writers think.
I can say that freely because most of those fellow writers don’t read my blog. This is what they get; used as examples.
Oh, Boromir. My poor, doomed-to-die fantasy hero. Yeah, one does. And by the way, you forgot a period at the end of your sentence.
Even non-writers are non-shy about expressing their opinion over comma placement. But nothing is quite so galvanizing as the dear old Oxford comma. Now, before I make a whole lotta friends, let’s make sure we’re all talking about the same comma.
a comma used after the penultimate item in a list of three or more items, before ‘and’ or ‘or’ (e.g. an Italian painter, sculptor, and architect).
— Google search results
When you go straight to the source, the Oxford Dictionary defines it as: “A comma used after the penultimate item in a list of three or more items, before ‘and’ or ‘or’ (e.g. an Italian painter, sculptor, and architect). Also called Oxford comma.” It also states that it’s “an optional comma before the word ‘and’ at the end of a list”.
Alright, now that we’re on the same metaphorical (and digital) page, I’m going to be honest—and brace myself for a wave of unfollows.
I don’t typically use the Oxford comma.
Before you start throwing veggies at your screen, hear me out. I’m writing from the perspective of a digital copywriter.
Once upon a time, in a faraway land called Houston, I was an art student. Then I became a graphic artist and web designer. I sketched, a lot.
Now I’m a copywriter who works alongside graphic artists and web designers. And they sketch, a lot. During meetings, in brainstorming sessions, at their desks — their pens and pencils skim over whatever’s handy with a steady rhythm. And in just a few minutes, they can sketch some amazing stuff.
Last week, I was five minutes early for a meeting. So I followed their example but instead of sketching pictures, I jotted down random phrases that popped in my head.
The results themselves were terrible, but it was still worth it.
“Please don’t judge my spelling, I know you’re a writer.”
“I’m sorry for my sloppy email, I know you’re a writer.”
“I apologize in advance for my crappy IM, I know you’re a writer.”
– Lots of people
I hear these fearful phrases (and similar) more often than I’d like, usually from people who are about to put something in writing for me to read.
Colleagues, new friends, old friends, casual acquaintances, passersby on the Internet—you name it, too many people are afraid I’m going to point out their mistakes just because I’m a writer.
But I’m not.
I’m not a member of the grammar police. And I don’t know a writer who is. Yes, we’re sticklers and yes, we do enjoy a good Oxford comma debate. But I’d like to think enough of us know when to turn it off.
But it does make me want to ask—when is it okay to edit and when is it not?