Toilet training and lessons in copywriting.
I’ve been writing stuff and calling myself a freelance copywriter for the last 3 years. I love it. I hate it. We were meant to be together. I’ve made mistakes and learnt a fair bit along the way.
I’m also a mum who’s spent the last few weeks shouting “do you need a wee?” and it dawned on me that toilet training and copywriting are not so dissimilar. So, here’s a few things they have in common:
You’re staring at an empty page waiting for the creative juices to flow. You got nothing.
You’ve tried to force some ideas but they’re just not cutting it and now you’re doubting everything. Don’t panic. Go do something else instead. If a poo won’t come, don’t sit there straining and stressing. Pull your big boy or girl pants back up, run around outside for a bit and let nature do its thing. Inspiration will come when you stop obsessing over it. And be warned. It may take you by surprise so make sure you have some paper nearby.
You’ve written a first draft, it’s rubbish and you want to cry.
It’s ok. We’ve all been there. Using the toilet looks easy but it takes practice. Lots of it. Accept that you’re going to make a few floor puddles along the way and embrace it. Yeh, you might end up peeing down your own leg but keep the flow going and clean up afterwards. Getting started is the hardest part. Just write and then write some more without overthinking. It doesn’t matter if you make a mess. It’s all part of the creative process.
You have to say no and it fills you with dread.
Turning down work can be difficult but it’s much better to be honest at the outset than waste time trying to write something you know you can’t deliver on. A bit like when you really need the loo but you’re too shy to say anything so you ignore it, carry on and hope it’ll resolve itself. Before you know it you’re damp and smell of wee and now everyone knows. Should have said something sooner. Ah well. Let’s chalk it up to experience and promise to speak up next time. ‘No’ isn’t a dirty word and people will thank you for it. Especially if you’re able to recommend other writers. Everyone’s a winner.
You’re not going to cut it as a writer - everyone is better than you.
You’ll have good days, bad days and every kind of day in between. You’ll question your life choices and consider jacking it all in for a ‘proper’ job. I’m pretty sure that every copywriter goes through this at least once in their career.
Before you do anything too drastic, remember your motivation. You may be looking for a more balanced work and home life or you might want a Paw Patrol lookout tower. Whatever your reason, keep focused and when the going gets tough stick at it. Because one day it’ll all just click into place and you’ll be pooping along with the best of them, wondering how you ever managed to stay in nappies for so long.