When you work in a creative role much of what you do comes from the heart. After all, that is where the creative spark comes from. This makes our work incredibly satisfying but can also be the reason we creative folk get a reputation for being a little sensitive! It is a challenge for me to step outside of my ‘masterpiece’ and allow someone else to tell me why my words just ‘don’t work’ for them but I am getting much better at handling feedback. I wanted to share my three tips….just in case it helps.
1) You are not writing for yourself
Okay this may sound obvious but I was recently reminded of this fact by my copy-writing tutor. When I was younger I used to enjoy writing creative stories and poems for my own pleasure and entertainment. Once you have a responsibility to write copy on behalf of a client or organisation, you are no longer writing stories for yourself but for your audience. So whereas when playing Scrabble, obscure words and using all the letters on your rack scores big, this does not transfer to the majority of copy writing tasks. If the audience wants simple, keep it simple!
2) Consider the feedback on its merit
Most of us would find something to change in a piece of text if we analysed it for long enough. However, understanding why a change is being proposed is very important. If the proposed alteration would have an impact on the reader’s response or simplifies something which is too complicated, then this is valid feedback and should be listened to. Often these changes lead to a noticeable improvement and are worth your time.
The changes you should question are those conversations about one word working slightly better than another. In other words, a change which is deemed to have little impact on the reader’s experience overall. These debates take the joy out of your writing and delay your delivery.
3) Set a change limit
I work as an in-house marketer and I believe we suffer from change fatigue much more than our agency counterparts. That is because an agency will include a limited amount of changes in the pricing agreement. In-house, this is not so disciplined, so your work can really go around the houses. Whilst this can appear collaborative and inclusive, it can really take the joy out of copy-writing. Sometimes your work can go around so many people you barely recognise it when it comes back! So I recommend embracing the change limit to protect the integrity of your content and to keep your work on track.
About the author: Rebecca Greenwood
Creative professional marketer and copywriter with a passion for amateur photography