If you hop over to my copywriting portfolio page, you might notice the samples there are somewhat unpolished.
Not the writing. Heck, no. Just the presentation. They’re raw. Like good sushi.
I don’t provide links to websites I’ve written. And I don’t publish pretty pictures of lovely glossy brochures adorned with my golden prose.
Why is this?
This is because I have a terrible affliction where copywriting’s concerned. It’s called perfectionism.
Although, let me just say that in no other area of my life would anyone call me a perfectionist.
For example, I love to keep the house tidy, but it’s all a bit superficial. Open any cupboard door and you’ll be buried in an avalanche of stuff I’ve piled in there. Out of sight, out of mind.
The problem with this unfortunate condition when it comes to writing is this: clients love to meddle.
Copywriting by committee
No matter how thrilled customers are with my output, my stuff is usually received by some kind of committee of well-meaning folk who all feel the need to dibble-dabble. And just one misplaced comma is enough for me to resort to the sushi.
So let me explain the painstaking process in writing, say, a website.
1) Research. I interview you about your business. I send you my briefing form to complete. I examine your industry and competitors.
2) I think, scribble, reject. Start again. Jot down ideas, words, phrases. After about three drafts, I have something I can use.
3) I examine every sentence link, every clause, every word, considering how they could be improved. I edit ruthlessly, looking to reduce the word count and achieve the tightest prose possible. I proofread several times. I look for dangling participles, parallel-construction errors, passive voice. The works.
4) I send it to the client. They suggest amends. I incorporate them the best way I can in the chosen tone of voice. There might be one more round of amends.
5) Two weeks later, I check on the site. In their wisdom, the client has merrily buggered about with all this. Like a woolly mammoth might tinker with a Swiss timepiece. They’ve removed paragraphs. They’ve inserted random apostrophes. They’ve cut and pasted sections at will. I cry like a baby.
It’s like getting your home rewired by an electrician and then having a go at rerouting some of the cables yourself.
Don’t be that client. I beg you.