Writing copy on a good day with a well known subject usually flows well. It will be read-through on completion and then passed around colleagues for a second opinion. I then arrive at a version that both me and my stakeholders are happy with and this makes the final cut. The problem arises when I re-read the content further down the line.
If I return to web text or published brochure I immediately want to start afresh with it. The good news is that I have recognised this as an issue – people at work have to prevent me reading content from the past that I don’t have the time or reason to change! This is how I address it:
How I learnt to resist the rewrite
- Copy is a snapshot in time
I recognise that it is in my nature to improve, which in turn drives the standard of my copywriting higher. What I have come to appreciate is that like a car model can look dated once a new version has been released, copy can be affected in the same way. At the time of production and approval, it worked but has a shelf-life because everything around it has changed.
2. It is natural to be critical of your own work
I am becoming more adept at critiquing my work in the right way at the right time. In doing so I am managing quality which is a necessary process. Although I won’t hand over work I am not happy with, I recognise it is natural to have the feeling that with more time, on a better day, in a calmer environment etc. I could improve on my content.
3. Stay away from that which you cannot change
I am learning to stay away from ‘content past’, until I have a remit to revisit it. The urge to change will never leave me, so I keep temptation at bay. Bear in mind point (1) and look forward not backward.
So next time you feel the twitch of ‘version 2’, stay strong. I know I will be sitting on my hands trying not to give in.
Is it just me that feels this way?
Do you feel the rewrite urge?
About the author: Rebecca Greenwood
Creative professional marketer and copywriter with a passion for amateur photography