Method Writing

As a copywriter, you get asked to write about all sorts of things. In any one day I have covered topics as diverse as recruiting SaaS sales-people, the benefits of genuine ink cartridges and how to achieve Scandinavian style on a budget. Some of these things I can get genuinely passionate about (who doesn’t love Hygge?) but others? Not so much.

I always think of ccopywriting as finding a way to get across the importance of something, but if a subject doesn’t excite you, then how can you do that? That’s when I do the thing I call ‘method writing’.

It’s probably a combination of my am-dram background and being a fiction writer. If I don’t have a use for this product or service, can I imagine someone who does? Can I slip into their head for a little while and imagine what it might be like to worry about my ex-pat pension, or how to remove pet stains from my hardwood floor? Usually, the answer is yes.

Does it help if there’s a natural conection between me and the subject matter? Definitely. It means that I’ll be able to make a quicker start at an article, and the ideas will flow more easily. Does that mean I can only write about the things I know or care about? No.

It’s a bit of convoluted mental process to go from thinking like me, to developing a character who has an interest and then viewing the product or service from their point of view, but it works. As Dennis Hopper says, you have to keep yourself open.


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