A copywriter needs more than a pen

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Someone once suggested to me that a copywriter must have the smallest tool box in the world –  all they need is a pen and a piece of paper.

I beg to differ.

As a copywriter I am forever lugging a heavy bag from writing location to location. As much as the words I connect together can be compact and mobile, the tools used to evolve them often take up considerably more space.

For many copywriters creating the right atmosphere, and calling upon a few reliable resources is just as critical in helping a writer tune into a creative zone and churn out some creative content.

There’s several tools I use to ensure my grammar output is successful.

The pen IS mightier than the sword

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Keyboard Schmee-board. It’s all about the pen. My pen of choice? The 1.0 Uni Laknock.

I like the comfort of its rubberised grip, and I’m a pen clicker when thinking…and this number gives good click action.

I also love the luscious gel ink-flow of the Office Max.

I’m assured by Mr Office works that I cangain greater control with larger barrel diameter and the rubberised grip means I write with less strain.”  There’s probably some complicated ratio of ink flow to thoughts equation …but I won’t blind you with the science. All you need to know is that it makes me feel productive when working, both pens of choice contain  bright blue gel ink, are easy to hold, don’t leave me with calluses on the days my output is high…and are affordable and easily accessible from any good stationers.

If I did feel like indulging myself ….I’d splurge on the SPACE pen. 

It’s futuristic, it’s shiny, it’s smooth and you can pretend you are a successful author at your latest book signing when using it.

Notebooks…oh so many notebooks

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This may be an addiction. One which my friends and family feed with gay abandon. One which I am happy to encourage. You can NEVER have too many notebooks when you are a writer. Last count, I had 12 on the go. You’d be surprised where I’ve got them stashed for easy access.

I am the crazy-cat-lady of the notebook world.

Bedside table, next to the phone, on top of the bulk pack of toilet paper, in the back shed where I keep the clothes pegs,  under couch cushions, under couch, glove compartment of car, sun-glass holder compartment of my car, in The Skipper’s shed (much to his disgust), in the shoe box, on my desk (many stacks), in my handbag, in every handbag I have ever owned, in my Squids playroom, and I understand one was sighted loitering in the change room at the swimming pool last week.

What’s my fav? My shower Aqua notebook. Waterproof. Brilliant! Because I do my BEST word-nerd thinking in the shower, this product is pure genius for me.

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It’s only a matter of time before it is made public  that I have a captive breeding program for my notebooks.  My long term goal is to release them into a wild library somewhere in a parallel universe and let them roam free. Till then, they are safe with me. They are my pretties.

Tip your hats to tippex

Call me old school. I still use it. Not often, but enough to keep the company doors open I’d suggest. Granted, the Tippex tea lady is probably the Chief Financial Officer and GM…but they are probably still in business due to my annual stockpiling.

tippex

I have evolved my tippex use somewhat.  These days I’m partial to the Mini pocket correction mouse for a clean straight line wipe-out. Tippex is a very tactile experience. It is also a very handy activity to undertake when procrastinating.

Tap-dancing on the Laptop

I confess I dabble with them all … PC, I-Pad, I-phone … but my laptop and I – we are inseparable.

It had me at Please Insert Your Password.

It is the Fred Astaire to my Ginger Rogers….both of us twirling up a word storm.  I believe I dance a little funny if my laptop is not by my side.

A writers uniform: Writing shirt, socks and cardigan

Just in case you had me pegged for the sophisticated Coastwriter that my branding portrait suggests, I’m going to have to burst your bubble. I don’t always look like that. In fact my preferred costume of choice is a mismatched woolly pair of socks that I fished out of the reject bin at my local market, and a cable knit cardigan with deep pockets.

I feel the cold, these do the trick.

Both make me feel cosy and secure, my knitted happy-place while bashing away at the keyboard.

knitted socks

However my ultimate coat of arms is a well-washed denim shirt with ¾ length button cuff sleeves. If worn with funky beads, it saves me from being completely old-lady-ish  in case I do get caught out when a client turns up at the door.

Reference books

I know we live in the Google age. We’ve got digital directories and on-line dictionaries coming out our wahoozies…and yet I feel the need to lug my Thesaurus around with me. This is Not just ANY Thesaurus mind you…this is the NEW COLLINS THESAURUS AS A CREATIVE A-Z WORD FINDER IN DICTIONARY FORM. It was awarded to me in 1987 as a year 11 General Excellence Award by Sr Giovanni. Oh, happy days!

I know Sr Gio will be thrilled to know it still gets a work-out…and really why wouldn’t it?

The alphabetical arrangement for Roget’s cumbersome concept-plus-index will never date. In fact its review back in the day suggested it “Offers the maximum of help with the minimum of fuss into the modern era”.

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Occasionally, I like to flick pages at random, find a word and immerse myself in its alternatives. Today’s hero word is Embolden. The alternatives? Animate, cheer, encourage, fire, hearten, inflame, inspire, invigorate, nerve, reassure, rouse, stimulate, stir, strengthen, vitalize.

There’s another little number that occasionally gets taken out for a saunter around town too. The Penguin Working Words: An Australian Guide to Modern English Usage, along with its cousin the Commonwealth Style Guide.

Reference books just make me feel all happy inside.

Acclaimed horror / mystery genre writer Stephen King, in his book On Writing stated “If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write”. So I’m hoping if ever I encounter Mr King and his crazy nurse down a misty laneway on a darkened night, he’ll let me live on account of my reference tools.

Liquid refreshments

While we seem to exist in a world of coffee beans and double drip roasting talk, I do not enter that lair.

My writing cave features tea. Copious amounts. Leaf. Not Bag. I have a container; it travels with me so that my strong desire to swill steeped leaves will always be satisfied.

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I do believe I write better when slurping Russian Caravan, but the good old Bushells Camp tea will do me just fine thank you very much.  According to a recent straw poll undertaken with my graphic designer and several other sub-contracting colleagues, my relentless desire to drink leaf tea has left several of them shaking in fear.

I make no apologies. I am tea-girl, hear me pour.

Tools make a copywriter productive

In 1958 in The Paris review (the ultimate loo read) Ernest Hemingway wrote:

Wearing down seven number-two pencils is a good day’s work.

In addition to the pencils, I could also add emergency Cherry Ripe bars, iPod, earphone and mic for client briefings, USB sticks which multiply like rabbits in my handbag, various procrastinating distractions, a stack of potential client’s business cards jostling for attention, and a ream of 80gsm white paper waiting for its date with my printer.

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All vital tools to ensuring vital communications flow.

Feel free to share your favourites….I love a good show and tell session!


Catch you on the next wave,
The Coast Writer.


Andrea_SignThe Coast Writer is Andrea Rowe, a content crafter, copywriter and communications specialist. Owner of a boutique PR and copywriting business which helps clients find the right words to tell their story and make connections, Andrea is a sand-between-the-toes kind of gal. Row your dinghy over to www.yourcoastalconnection.com.au or call out Ahoy there on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus or Instagram. 
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Posted by Andrea Rowe  |  0 Comment  |  in Coastwriter, Word Nerd

About Andrea Rowe

Andrea Rowe is the Chief Wordsmith of Your Coastal Connection which offers digital communications services and copywriting to small business and not-for-profit organisations. She creates engaging words and identifies tactical approaches that help tell your story and connect with customers.

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