The Toronto Star published an amusing story on June 25 (2012) about a young graduate trying to find a copywriting job by sending out telegrams. Apparently, Humber College graduate Zack Filler has been trying unsuccessfully to find work after completing a copywriting program this past May. He has had 20 interviews thus far yet he’s been unable to land the position he’s after. So he decided to get creative.
He found a website offering to send bulk telegrams at a cost of just CAD $4.95 each. Filler sent $50 worth in hopes that his creativity will get the attention of an advertising agency. He’s operating on a firm belief that creativity will get him noticed where resumes and college transcripts tend to get lost in the shuffle. He may be onto something, even though he has yet to be contacted by any of the firms that received his messages.
Creativity Important for a Copywriter
We may never know whether Mr. Filler finds a copywriting job or not. But if he does, he’ll already be a leg up on his peers due to his creative nature. And anyone who’s spent any time as a copywriter knows how necessary creativity is. Otherwise, writing page after page of advertising or marketing copy can become excruciatingly tiresome and mundane. It’s only creativity that keeps things fresh and alive for the writer.
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Not that this is all about the writer; don’t misunderstand. Ultimately the paying customer is the one who decides whether or not the copy produced is worth the money paid. If the customer decides a copywriter has not done his job he will probably request a rewrite; the customer may or may not care about creativity. Yet when the writer is fully engaged in his work he is more apt to produce copy that will more than satisfy the customer. You see, creativity is the key to satisfying not only the writer’s customers, but also the customer’s audience.
Learning to Find Creativity
I have done plenty of copywriting in my day so I know how tedious it can be. Yet I’ve learned how to find creativity that will add to my productivity. How? By taking the time to observe everything that goes on around me when I’m not working. In fact, there’s so much of the world outside my upstate New York home that it provides plenty of fuel for my creativity.
For example, one of my favourite things to do is go to a shopping mall, sit at centre court, and spend hours observing people as they walk by. I jot down my observations for later inspiration. Some are humorous, some are a bit distressing, and still others are somewhat sad. But in observing the daily lives of the people around me I am inspired to be creative.
Another place I find creative inspiration is in the natural world. Every morning the sun rises at the front of my house, giving me plenty of beautiful shadows to look at out the back patio doors. In the late afternoon the sun comes shining brightly through those patio doors and changes my environment completely.
All around there are plenty of trees, beautiful green grass, and even my daughter’s vegetable garden. I take a few minutes each morning and afternoon to simply look out the patio doors and absorb everything I see. Once in a while I’ll even take my work outside to be closer to the natural environment. All of these things together inspire me to be creative.
The Choice Is Ours
Carman Online Content Publishing owner Anthony Carter wrote in one of his e-books that when a writer runs out of ideas it’s probably because he’s no longer interested in the topic. I would wholeheartedly agree. But I would add to that by saying when a writer loses his creativity it’s only because he’s lost his interest in being creative.
As writers, you and I have the world at our fingertips with the ability to influence greatly with our words. Yet we will only be as influential as our creativity. Since we have the choice in whether or not we want to pursue creativity, we also have the choice over whether or not we want to influence. And yes, that even goes for plain, old copywriting.