I must be stupid.
I know, I know. You were thinking that anyway.
But I reckon we can confirm it now.
Having always been a pretty sensitive guy who doesn’t like criticism, you’ve got to wonder why I’ve spent the last twenty years doing something where I receive criticism every day.
Sure, sometimes the criticism comes from myself, or what I guess you’d call my inner editor.
But other times it comes from business owners, marketers, PR agents, accountants, lawyers, even fellow copywriters.
I mean, it’s not even that I’m a bad copywriter. I’m a good one. My work works.
But that’s just it…when it comes to writing anything (and I can tell you it’s the same for novels just as it is for writing copy), you will always have people telling you that ‘you could tweak X’ or ‘you could change Y’.
You know what, though?
It’s great news.
It means you get a chance to improve your work. You get to make it better.
But it’s easy to forget this simple fact.
Working on The Fix, I’m reminded of it every time Nick and I get together to discuss other people’s copy.
I always feel bad that we often seem to be saying ‘this isn’t right’, or ‘you should change that’.
But then I remember—and I make sure to tell the writer too—that workshopping copy as we do on The Fix isn’t about slagging it off and pulling a copywriter down.
It’s about lifting the copywriter up, helping them to make their copy stronger and more effective.
It’s why, even after twenty years of having people tell me I could tweak X or change Y, I still love doing it and—at least after my initial sulk (I’m only human)—I always take on board the advice and use it to improve my copy.
I think it’s an important lesson to learn. Actually, is ‘lesson’ the right word? I don’t know. Maybe it’s just something good to remind yourself—that receiving feedback on your copy is not only a natural part of the process: it’s essential.
Without doubt, getting together with fellow copywriters and hearing their thoughts and feelings about my own copy was the thing that taught me the most about my skill.
It’s really why Nick and I launched The Fix in the first place—to pay that back a little.
We used to have our copy reviewed by some serious legends in the copywriting world, and, though I wouldn’t use that term where we two idiots are concerned, we do still know a thing or two about persuasion.
Indeed, if you’ve been following all the episodes of The Fix so far, I hope you’ve been enjoying them. Write to me and let me know if so. It’s good to hear they’re being well received.
And hey, if you’ve not got involved yet…or if you haven’t sent in some copy (or a copy challenge for us to discuss), make sure you do.
The fact is, without getting too preachy in my old age, as a copywriter (as any writer really), you should be looking to improve with every piece of copy you write, and having folks like Nick and I offer constructive feedback on your work will help you do that.