Everyone Thinks They're A Writer

I don't know a single writer in advertising who got into the game just to write ads. We may love the advertising we write or hate it, but we all become copywriters as a way to keep some other dream alive.

Maybe it's a play. Maybe it's a novel. Maybe it's journalism. We all have a writing goal beyond the tagline. We are more than just advertising copy hacks. We are artists — at least in our own minds — masters of our craft. And we have worked hard to perfect our craft.

Now certainly our enthusiasm is usually beat out of us along the way, but we never lose sight of the fact that every line of every copy deck is a labor of love and balance. Which is why when you bring your last-minute, petty changes that play with with the agreement of the sentence in an effort to shove one more irrelevant talking point about the product's gear ratio, we want to stab you to death with a fountain pen.

There's an old joke in advertising...

Q: How many copywriters does it take to change a lightbulb?

A: Changes? What f*&$ing changes?!?

In all my years in the business, everyone has joked about the tempremental copywriter. But there's a reason that the writers are so abrasive. Where the art professionals may get annoying requests for color changes and logo size increases, they essentially have a skill that is obviously beyond every account executive or marketing manager. An AE can ask for an art change, but most can never hope to go into Photoshop and makes those changes themselves. 

But everyone can write. And thus is born the delusion of grandeur that makes everyone believe that because they can write, they are qualified as a writer.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Just because you can breathe, it doesn't make you a cardiologist. You are simply using the equipment. And the same is true of your writing. We ad writers really do know what we're doing. So make your suggestions, please. Most of the best of us welcome criticism. But understand that your changes are never simple. They always take careful thought and more rewriting than you expected. And don't try to write it for us. Because if you do, we may have to kill you.

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