If you’re a recent creative writing graduate and are wondering how to make a living while you finish that novel or script, you may not have considered copywriting. It’s not on the radar of most creative writing students, and yet it draws on all the skills that are honed on a CW degree, including storytelling, viewpoint, tone of voice, research, characterisation, hooks, and a demon eye for editing. Good listening skills and the ability to cut through complexity to find a clear narrative thread are also useful.
Writing skills are highly sought after in the commercial world, but it can be hard for creative writers to know how to translate their skills for that different context. I wrote this book as a start-up guide for students, based on my experience of running Texthouse, a writing business in rural Scotland.
One of the unexpected privileges of copywriting is the fascinating range of people and businesses you meet. I’ve had the pleasure of working with divers, housing associations, dry rot specialists, hoteliers, chocolatiers, heating engineers, designers… people whose work I’d never normally come across in the comparative isolation of writing. For a curious writer, this is wonderful. And as I discovered, people in the world of small business are a lot like writers: independent, in pursuit of a strange vision, prefer working for themselves…
How to Launch a Freelance Copywriting Business is about startup nuts and bolts for creative writers and journalists, and doesn’t cover the writing side. If you’re a student and would like recommendations and templates around copywriting, email email@example.com
Jules Horne is an Associate Lecturer on the Open University MA in Creative Writing and module A363, Advanced Creative Writing.