As a creative copywriter, when somebody asks me what I do for a living, I can almost guarantee that – nine times out of ten – the conversation will unfold in the following manner.
Me: “I’m a creative copywriter for one of the UK’s leading advertising agencies.”
Them: “That sounds really interesting. So what is it you do exactly?”
Me: “I’m basically one of the people that comes up with the ideas for and writes the ads.”
Them: “Ahhhh, OK, I get it. I reckon I could do that for a living.”
And, to a certain extent, they’re right: they probably could do it. But what they probably don’t understand, is the fact that it takes a certain kind of person to actually do it for a living – not least do it well.
So what kind of person are we talking about?
Well, the kind of person who’s willing to wait a couple of minutes until the next train comes along, just so they can read all the cross-platform ads on the London Underground.
The kind of person who can be watching Vikings on Amazon Prime Video at 11:30pm, only to pause it and spend the next hour reading random historical facts on the internet – such is their thirst for knowledge, however academic that knowledge might seem to others around them.
The kind of person who’s willing to forego normal working hours, because they know that innovative ideas and stupendous straplines don’t do normal working hours. In the shower; on the weekend; during dinner – these ideas and lines present themselves on their terms, not yours.
The kind of person who’s willing to concede that the creative process is usually a marathon, not a sprint. The kind of person, therefore, who’s willing to be patient enough to wait for that lightbulb moment, as opposed to forcing it.
The same kind of person who knows that – as testing as all of the above can be – the feeling of satisfaction and joy felt when they finally see one of their ads run, makes it all worth it.
So, like I said, these people I speak to probably could do it for a living.
But if they treat it like just another job, then they probably won’t do a good job of it. Because being an advertising creative isn’t just another 9 to 5 job.
It’s a 24/7 obsession.