I remember getting my ass kicked as a junior at Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism by professor Drew Riley Everts. Between the ridiculous in-class news reporting deadlines and the impossible sentence diagramming, I often wondered why I had transferred from the school of fine arts.
But Dr. Everts and her draconian ways helped me understand that writing was more than just the inverted pyramid, technical sentence structure, and the indoctrination of AP Style. She forced me to WORK at writing as a craft, to understand that it wasn’t good enough to simply put words on paper, but to write well on deadline.
Good writing is only as good as the writing you submit when it’s due.
From my first real job as a writer at The Dallas Morning News, and in all of the corporate and agency gigs since then, writing fast and well has been my mantra. I grew to love it – the balance between finding the perfect thing to write and the looming deadline that demanded it.
Like an episode of Chopped, a copywriter takes seemingly disparate items from a basket and creates a symphony of flavors for the favor of judges, all within a ridiculous time frame.
The deadline is just as important as the ability to make the dish.
Like cooking, copywriting is a tremendous challenge – the act of creating something beautiful out of nothing.
And that’s why it’s so damned satisfying.