Coronavirus – A copywriter’s story.

I don’t know about other copywriters but for me this whole lockdown thing isn’t the dramatic upheaval it is for most of my friends, colleagues and clients. For one thing, being a writer of any sort tends to be a solitary occupation – if only because it’s almost impossible to write anything while talking! Hence, I suppose, the stereotypical image of the writer as tortured soul, toiling over a typewriter with only copious amounts of alcohol for company.

As a freelancer, I quite used to working at home in hertfordshire. Indeed, that’s where I’m mostly to be found when I’m not pacing up and down in search of inspiration or tapping away in my corner of the Create + Deploy studio. Of course, since the advent of the new C-word locked us all down what I used to think of as freedom feels a lot like captivity

Mind you, my pacing up and down is a bit limited now. Not only because my kitchen (cage) is only a few paces long – but also because it’s driving my wife (who of course is also working at home) up the wall (She can only go round the bend as part of her legitimate once-daily exercise). And when I’m faced with a stubbornly blank page, I’ve found my improvised alternatives to my habitual ‘walk round the writer’s block’ – such as foot-tapping to BBC 6 Music and table-top percussion solos with biros – are also seriously unpopular.

lack of structure to your day – and no boss to breathe down your neck – can make it hard to get started or to get anything finished

But, hey, we count ourselves lucky because we both still have work to do – even if the circumstances are far from ideal. For instance, as people accustomed to the routine of working in an office/studio are doubtless discovering, lack of structure to your day – and no boss to breathe down your neck – can make it hard to get started or to get anything finished.

A tip for the home-working newbie: I find it helps to ease into the day’s work by tackling something fairly straightforward for a couple of hours, thereby giving your creative muscles a chance to limber up. For me, that tends to be a spot of the editing/proof-reading I handle for a publishing client until, about five mugs of strong coffee in, I face up to the jobs that call for actual creative thinking!

One upside of the lockdown, though, is that there are far fewer distractions and interruptions in these strangely quiet days – no pointless meetings, no extended lunches, no water cooler gossip and no popping out to the pub or anywhere else for the foreseeable.

On the whole, though, it’s not far off business as usual for me. So far, at least…


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