I’m in the midst of doing some ‘freelance’ copywriting work–I’ve put freelance in scare quotes because I’m doing it for my faculty and they approached me, rather than the other way around. Regardless, I’m getting paid, and I’ll be able to put something like ‘freelance copywriter/consultant’ on my resumé.
And it’s very different to the kind of writing I’m used to. In comparison to creative writing, where you are more or less your own boss, copy writing has a specific purpose that’s determined by someone else–someone else’s priorities (usually commercial), someone else’s aims and vision for a final product. Might I also add: someone else’s deadlines, which are proving both a blessing and a curse. You’re not writing as yourself, but as a mouthpiece for a whole institution. Negotiating all that is tricky, and oddly dehumanising. But for that reason, I’m also finding it remarkably freeing.
Whenever I feel like I’m being overzealous, overenthusiastic, or making outlandish promises, I remind myself of the other marketing material coming out of my university.
Whenever I think I’m too invested, I try to remember what it’s like to know nothing about this degree, nothing about where a tertiary qualification in creative arts might lead, not even knowing what the average day in the classroom will hold. I imagine how much better I would have felt, at Orientation Day, if I’d had someone tell me what the degree was actually like.
Whenever I question why I even agreed to do this job, which I’m both over- and underqualified for, I look at the drafts prepared by the communications staff and discipline heads in the faculty. And I realise: this needs a good writer.
This project needs me.
Not the same ‘me’ that teaches literary theory or writes poems or researches digital literature. But there’s a copywriter somewhere inside me, and she’s having a field day.