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
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
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.