For many of us, AC/DC evokes memories of homecoming dance soundtracks and warm summer nights in a teenager’s Camaro. However, the bad schoolboys of rock have some valuable lessons to impart to copywriters as well.
1: “I’m just making my play. Don’t try to push your luck, just get out of my way…I’m back, back in black”
“A degree in English means you’ll be a high school teacher the rest of your life.” “I guess you don’t ever want to earn enough money to support your family.”
These very statements were told to me as I was contemplating a writing career. And they are bold-faced lies.
If your guidance counselor or girl/boyfriend or parents are trying to dissuade you from the career in writing you want, it is your responsibility to prove them wrong. Make your play in the world and then go back and tell them all about it.
2: “She wanted no applause, just another course…the earth was quaking, my mind was aching…and you shook me all night long”
There are generally two types of writers portrayed on television. You either have the Ginsberg-esque beatnik or the Mad Men type of highball swilling hack.
Like so many other things, the real world is not like that. Being a copywriter is fun, but plan to be on the roller coaster.
Copywriting is not a 9 to 5 job. It takes a lot of effort. You might actually sweat. It is mental activity that takes a physical toll. And it is truly spectacular. But be prepared to work all night long if you have to.
3: “I shoot from the hip. I was born with a stiff, a stiff upper lip”
You don’t want to go off half-cocked (groan), but as with any creative endeavor, you are going to face criticism of your work. Sometimes you will agree with the subjective assessment, and sometimes you won’t.
The best copywriters absorb the critique, compartmentalize it into the professional (not personal) part of their brains, and use it next time if it has any value. (Hint: it usually does.)
However, do not let any evaluation to permanently scar your confidence. Besides a good brain, a stiff upper lip is the most useful part of a writer’s anatomy.