April 4th, 2017 by Bob Bly
A lot of people are complainers and whiners.
We copywriters are no exception.
One of the most common complaints I hear from copywriters centers
around clients requesting edits and changes.
But the great novelist and poet, Charles Bukowski, had a more
positive take on rewrites.
In his book “On Writing” (Ecco, 2015, p. 163), Bukowski writes:
“Writing has never been work to me, and even when it comes out
badly, I like the action, the sound of the typer, a way to go.
“And even when I write badly and it comes back, I look at it and
I don’t mind too much: I’ve got a chance to improve.
“That’s the matter of staying with it, tapping away … until it
sounds and reads and feels better.”
Three quick points for freelance copywriters to think about:
1–You may know more about copywriting than your client. But he
may know more about his market than you — and almost certainly
knows more about his product than you.
2–You will have some clients who know as much or even more about
copywriting than you do. You know who they are. Writing for these
clients takes your skills to the next level.
Once, when my client MF, one of the masters of copywriting, was
reviewing a draft of mine, his comments were all so on target I
was moved to say to him aloud, “I am learning so much — I should
be paying YOU.”
He wryly replied: “You’re damned right.”
3–We don’t always write as well as we would like to. But we must
always write as well as we can.
Of course, it helps if you — like Charles Bukowski, Isaac Asimov,
and David McCullough — belong to the segment of writers who not
only like but actually love to write.
“There is nothing more magic than lines forming across paper,”
said Bukowski. “It’s all there. It’s all there ever was. What
comes afterwards is more than secondary.
“I can’t understand any writer who stops writing. It’s like
taking your heart out and flushing it away. I’ll write to my last
breath. I was meant to be like this.
“And when my skeleton rests upon the bottom of the casket,
nothing will be able to subtract from these splendid nights,
sitting here at this machine.”
Bukowski’s words remind me of when Barbara Walters interviewed
She asked Asimov, “What would you do if you found out you had
only 6 months to live?”
Without missing a beat, Asimov replied: “I’d type faster.”
My kind of guys….
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