What copywriters need to know about self-care and why reading a book for the second time is a great idea

So, we’re almost 2 months into the year. Here in the UK, March 1st is meant to be the beginning of spring, but this coming week sees a drop in temperature and snow is forecast. Perhaps, this is winter’s last stand before spring takes its final steps into 2018. I know that on March 25th the clocks go forward 1 hour, and I know then, that despite the obligatory showers, spring will win out.

Partially Frozen waterfall glistening in the sunlight

Partially Frozen waterfall glistening in the sunlight

This week I learnt a humbling lesson yet again about the importance of self-care, and how easy it is to let things slip. I felt myself ebbing away, and I felt both physically and mentally drained, and despite attempts at meditation and reading I found sleeping difficult.

In the end I found solace in nature, as I always do, walking and running in the cold sun and being close to water (which I find strangely rejuvenating, although I don’t swim), helping me to finally feel a little more like myself. This weekend saw a trip to Llyn Ogwen and Llyn Idwal with family, and the almost frozen lakes and waterfalls were a delight to the senses. It helped me to feel energized, and with all the walking perhaps tired enough to sleep tonight.

Back to nature

Back to nature

Legend says that Llyn Ogwen is the lake where King Arthur dropped his famous sword Excalibur into the hands of the haunting Lady of the Lake, myth perhaps, yes. But both *Llyn Ogwen and Idwal were as beautiful as I’d remembered them as a child, the perfect place to go for quiet contemplation, to relax and just…be. You can read about the legend of Llyn Ogwen and King Arthur on the National trust website here.

"Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher" William Wordsworth  

"Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher" William Wordsworth

*(Llyn – Lake)

In other news I both finished and started two books, one I’ve been enjoying immensely, and have now finished. Fear of Flying Erica Jong.

“Women are their own worst enemies. And guilt is the main weapon of self-torture . . . Show me a woman who doesn't feel guilty and I'll show you a man.”

“It took me years to learn to sit at my desk for more than two minutes at a time, to put up with the solitude and the terror of failure, and the godawful silence and the white paper. And now that I can take it . . . now that I can finally do it . . . I'm really raring to go.”

― Erica Jong, Fear of Flying

And don’t we all know that feeling? The guilt, and the difficulty as a copywriter/writer, whatever you are, finding that precious time to sit down and stay there, to endure the solitude, the terror of failure. I know these feelings well. I’ve been crippled by them enough times in the past.

Sadly, I didn’t get to go to The Copywriter Club IRL meet in NYC, but after reading Kim Krause Schwalm’s email this week, and about her talk on resilience at The Bowery, I felt less alone in having those feelings, and it certainly ties in with the guilt and fear of failure we all experience from time to time -

“Even the top copywriters fail sometimes. I know, because I beat some of them early in my career—and still do today! I also worked for six years at Phillips Publishing, which worked with the highest-paid, crème de la crème freelance copywriters. And I can tell you for sure they didn’t always bat 1000.

Knowing this helped me bounce back stronger—instead of saying “I suck” and giving up—when I encountered those first few brushes with failure early in my copywriting career. I learned that you need to be able to let whatever failures you experience roll off your back and move on.” (Kim Krause Schwalm)

And move on we must, remaining strong and resilient.

My reading of Jong’s FoF was my second reading, and her writing is as sharp and relevant today as it was when it was first published.

The second book I started this week is, Barbara Stanney’s Overcoming Underearning, and what an eyeopener that’s turning out to be. If you’re a woman and you’re trying to get your head out of that underearning hell hole, then this might be the book for you.

My next book will be Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and there is no better time than now to revisit this book. It will again be my second reading, and it coincides with the 200-year anniversary of Shelley’s groundbreaking piece of fiction.

Yes, I do often read books for the second time, and the same with films, I feel that sometimes on the second visit you see things you didn’t notice first time round. With books, I’ve often found the second time is a completely different experience from the first, it’s not always positive, but most of the time it is. If you love a book enough, whether it's for work or play, reading it again is like returning to the arms of an old lover, warm and familiar but more to discover - for good or bad.

My copywriting crushes are piling up as we plough through towards spring. I’ve just subscribed to Laura Belgray’s Talking Shrimp, Kim Krause Schwalm’s Copy Insiders and I’ve recently discovered Verbal Identity, who describe themselves as a “verbal branding and brand strategy consultants specializing in using linguistics and creative writing to give brands a competitive positioning.” They published a book recently and I’m desperate to get hold of a copy, if I do I’ll let you know.

Their blogs are short, punchy and relevant and you can take a look a them in the link I’ve posted above.

So, keep on being strong, resilient and completely killing it. I’ll be back shortly once I’ve revived myself with a strong mug of tea and a rather large and generous bacon sandwich. And hey, if you’re looking for sophisticated web copy for your website, or some rather scintillating emails that will sell your products or services in the best way possible, you know where to find me…