My Copy Writing Guide

I had always enjoyed writing. Scribbling on the margins was what kept me alive during math and science classes in school. They were boring and moreover I did not need them, I wanted to be a psychologist. My amateurish writing continued for a long time which included filling pages and pages of my daily diary. I got my first serious assignment when I was in college. Although it was not hardcore journalism, I call it serious because it allowed less free play and I had to give up my favorite pen and start using the keyboard. It was an article for the college magazine and I did the best I could. It got published, was highly appreciated and for the first time in my life I started considering writing as a career. So it was goodbye Psychology Major and hello English Honors.

I started taking my writing more solemnly. My participation in write ups for college and classes was more than ever. I must admit that I was very surprised. I very firmly believed that when you make a profession out of your hobbies, they start becoming burdens and thus less enjoyable. It was true for Psychology as I could read numerous books on it but a 45 minute class seemed never ending. But it never happened with writing. The more I wrote, the more I enjoyed it. Now I was more sure than ever that I wanted to be a writer, not a journalist but a writer because rules and me just do not go together.

After Post Graduation, began my job hunt. I appeared for my first interview here at CueBlocks and cleared all the rounds. Now I was officially a ‘Copy Writer’ who was on top of the world. My first assignment was an article. I did a very good job, or at least I thought so until I got the client’s feedback. The article was all wrong and I was all heart broken. How could this happen? I had written it well! It was then that I realized something – my writing was not bad, it was just not in sync with what the client was expecting. A phrase which I had read back in school kept coming back to me – ‘Learn the rules before you break them’. I thought I had understood it well but I had not; I did now. It was back to the drawing board for me.

I had joined CueBlocks on 28 May 2007 and today, after 21 days of working here, I have learned to stick to some basic rules while preparing for a writing assignment. I am sharing them because I feel that they are essential for all writers who deal with multitudes of people while working.

  • It is essential to know what your supervisors expect of you, I knew that part well. It is more important to know what the client expects out of the work you are doing for him/her. This is where I lapsed. A one – on – one interaction is possible with the supervisors but not with the clients. For them your work speaks for you. Before you write anything, extensively research the style and criteria of the client. I generally Google the client’s name and read as much as I can about him/her. It might seem that I am overdoing things a bit, but I am not taking any more chances.
  • I read and re-read and re-re-read the piece of writing I am about to submit. The more you read it, the more places you will find which have scope for improvement. Remember all the great poets who kept re-writing their poems? Alexander Pope followed a thumb rule of writing and reviewing a poem at least 6 – 7 times before publishing it. That invited a lot of criticism for him and his originality was questioned. I am pretty sure that we would have no such problems. Mr. Pope did not live in the age of Google and Yahoo search.
  • While writing it is very easy to fall into a stereotyped style especially if you are writing a bunch of things for the same topic. All introductions start looking the same. My friend and savior Google helps me here also. I read as much as possible on the subject at hand. Avoid falling into a standard pattern – that will stagnate your style and curb the potential in you.
  • I give much priority to spacing when I write or type, any way you want to look at it. If your write up looks good everyone is going to want to read it. Remember in school when the teacher gave extra marks for neatness? The same rule applies here. Space your writing properly. Do not cramp it. A neat division into paragraphs and points is what I always keep constant in my writing.

These are all the perils of wisdom I have to give (I admitted my experience was not very much). I know that following these guidelines has helped me a lot and it will continue to do so. In conclusion I must say that writing this piece has made me very happy because I am breaking some rules here. So that must mean I have learned some as well.

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One Response to My Copy Writing Guide

  1. Piyush says:

    Very well written article, nice work.