The lone art director on a copywriting course
 

Last week I went on a copywriting course to see if I could get the hang of this whole writing malarkey. I must admit I’m rather intimidated by copy. And meeting new people. And speaking out loud to said strangers… So, I wasn't exactly thrilled to be going #UngratefulBastard. 

As I sat down and we introduced ourselves, I realised I was the only art director. Everyone else wrote copy for a living... Bril-li-ant. I thought this was copywriting for dummies? How to string together a sentence 101 style. Instead, I was going to have to read OUT LOUD copy I had attempted to write, to a complete group of strangers, professional copywriting strangers… er, shoot me now please?

An hour or so into the course, we were asked to write 200 words on something we felt passionate about. Now, I’m not a fan of opening up to people I barely know, but the dreaded F word popped into my head immediately. It was the only thing that I could think of.

Feminism. 'Blah blah blah, womens rights. Blah blah blah, we don’t hate men'. Christ. It’s a big fuckin’ subject to chat about to strangers. Strangers who you’re terrified of. On a copywriting course you think you’re going to suck at. Hasn’t anyone shot me yet?

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If you read my last blog post, you may realise (as I’m starting to)… that I have a tendency to accidentally go balls deep on things I give a shit about. So, off I went. 'Blah blah blah'. Emma Watson must of had prepare weeks for this kinda stuff. I had twenty minutes. I tried to be personal, and not too preachy. To break the stereotypical image of the man hating hairy, angry feminist by being a bit self-deprecating, with the odd penis joke thrown in. No speech about feminism is complete with a penis joke. True story.

As I read out loud, I could feel my face becoming an uncomfortable shade of red. My hands shook, and my voice shook more. I had to just stare at my words, jiggling on the paper to get through it. I daren’t look any of those intimidating bastards in the eye.

As I finished, our teacher Will Awdry, began to clap. I looked up, as the rest of the group joined in. I nearly cried. Maybe I did cry? … I dunno, it was all a bit of a  blur. I had bared my lil soul, attempted to write, and they embraced me doing so.

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That moment had a profound impact of me. Genuinely. Not only did I come away with some tips and tricks on ways into copywriting, I came away feeling way more confident in my writing. I know I hadn’t written anything special, or released a secret copywriter inside, but I had tried my hardest, and they knew that... so I‘m beyond thankful for their support. In that moment, I no longer saw them as the intimating bastards, but some of the nicest people I’d met in a long time. 

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So my first taste of copywriting was pretty good in the end?! Who knew overcoming my fears and voicing my words to strangers could be so bloody liberating? I’m realising the more I write, the better I’ll become. And that makes me feel more confident about just cracking on with it. The learning process is far more bloody enjoyable now. Even reading this post back, it’s not that elegant, but hey-ho, neither am I… and I’m totes ma goats fine with that.

This is the link to the course if anyone fancies it. If you hadn’t noticed… I highly recommend it. https://www.dandad.org/en/d-ad-advertising-copywriting-creative-training-course/

 
Is Tyler Durden your greatest asset?
 

It’s mental health week.
That one week where people will admit that their life is not quite as glossy as it looks on Facebook. It’s incredibly encouraging to see people open up and share their inner demons and struggles with mental health. Heck, even the ol’ Royals are joining in. So what about me? Well, I’ve decided to level up from telling people on Facebook who already know me, to anyone who finds my website. You know, people who may want to work with me or even hire me in the future. Risky? Perhaps…

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Four years ago, I wasn’t in the best place mentally. After losing a job I despised (a story for another day), and walking away from a toxic relationship I felt I’d reached my lowest point. Feeling like a failure I took a long hard look in the mirror. Unfortunately my inner demon looking back wasn’t a buff young Brad Pitt. My inner demon is not so hot. I had been struggling with anxiety. With the prejudice around mental health, I was too afraid to tell anyone… yet, it had gotten to the stage where it was controlling my life. And how did this anxiety manifest itself? Now, this is an embarrassing thing for me to admit - but whenever I got super anxious, my mind convinced me that I needed a wee. How inconvenient is that? I’d be halfway through pitching an idea, and all I could think about is how much I really want to just run out and go the loo. I would be so convinced I needed to go tinkle that I couldn’t go far away from the porcelain throne. It’s all mental of course. There were no wet knickers thank goodness, but still I was going to the toilet 20/30 times a day, you know, just in case.

As you can imagine, this was something that dominated my life. Being at the bottom meant there was only one way to go. Up. Luckily, those steps I took back then, are still enriching my life now. And that was what worked for me. Confronting it, picking my life apart (with help of course) and building it back up again, the way I wanted it to be. It was hard but ultimately worth it. And realistically, I don't think I'd change any of it, cos I simply wouldn't be the person I am now - out the other side, with a life that makes me happy and a whole toolkit of things to help me if I have a ‘bad day’.

Luckily my efforts paid off - once I had started to pick up the pieces of what I thought about myself, and who I wanted to be, I began moving forward. I landed a role in a global agency and met someone who I think is an absolute keeper. Now I’d say I was almost ‘normal’. I almost function like a ‘normal’ piddling person. And yes, there is the odd occasion I will leave a meeting to go for a wee. But hey, normal people do that too.

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I’ve just finished reading this little gem from Dave Birss.  He suffers from bipolar and depression… who knew? He makes a really lovely and thought-provoking point, which made me want to write this piece. Sometimes the things we think are these terrible secrets, could in fact, be the things that make us good at what we do.

Take me. Anxious. And I can be stupidly anxious at times. But that does make me think a lot. Sometimes that can be just about my good pal - the toilet, and sometimes it opens up a whole new way of thinking about stuff that can actually benefit my career. When you boil down what I do for a living, I’m paid to think. If I wasn’t anxious I don’t think I’d approach briefs in the way that I do. Being anxious also makes me super passionate. I really care about the work I do and want it to go as well as possible. I’m not sure I would wake up at 4am as much as I do, just to have a little think if I didn’t 'overthink' and care as passionately as I do.

I also spend my time pouring over art and design, typography and illustration, film and animation. I get so absorbed that it can act as a coping mechanism to drown out overthinking when it becomes unproductive. But even this has a really positive effect. I think, without blowing my own trumpet, that I have quite a big range of reference and inspiration… Now it's all sitting on Pinterest. Waiting for me. It's a wealth of beautiful imagery that I can tap into as well as feed, anytime I want. 

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That’s why Mental Health Week is so darn important. It’s about changing the negative stereotypes. Changing how people see mental health, through sharing their story. I guess my concluding paragraph, for my first ever blog post (and who knew I’d go balls deep with this as my first topic hey) is that the majority of people don’t have a clue, and that’s fine. If people only know half the story – that I’m a passionate thinker who’s driven by powerful visuals… then that’s fine. But wouldn’t it be great to show people that anxiety is the reason that my mind works in the way that it does. That anxiety, could in fact, be the reason we should work together in the future. 

You know, only if you have a toilet near by. 

 
Beki Reilly
I'm gonna start writing a blog...
 

... Why?

Because I’ve been told that I can’t... and shouldn’t write.  Yes images are my passion but I'd like to see what this whole world of writing is all about. So, I’ll be testing my chat on you lucky people who happen to stubble across my blog. I'll be sharing my influences and passions, my random brain farts about all things creative as well as sneak peaks of things I'm working on. Stay tuned folks, it's gonna be... interesting (hopefully).


 

 
Beki Reilly