What Writing 247,000 Words of Copy Does to A Writer (AKA Me)
Devonnie Garvey, Copywriter
September 30, 2017
When I decided to start writing online, it was out of a desperate need to prove something. To everyone, and even to myself.
Getting paid for my writing found me by chance. I had attended a two day class on how to make money online along with my mom. Writing was one of the ways that was mentioned.
Fast forward six months from that seminar, and I was spending 12 to 18 hours writing almost every day. I was churning out thousands of words of content for clients that purchased my services through a freelancing platform. Copywriting became my focus since it encompassed writing, persuasion and marketing, the three things I loved the most.
I was chronically low on sleep and I surely wasn’t eating properly, but for the first time in my life I felt validated. It felt like I had found where I belonged. Writing had been my passion for as long as I can remember (I spent my free time in high school writing novels in exercise books). My passion was never encouraged though, since I was always met with the “that’s not a real job” line whenever I mentioned taking my talents further than the confines of those graphite smudged books.
Needless to say, when I found people online who were willing to pay for the skills that I had cultivated over the years, I was over the moon. It didn’t matter to me that I was writing for pennies per word at that time, because I was doing what they said I couldn’t do.
The burnout was inevitable, as you could guess
During those months, I honed my research skills to a science. I was able to dive into a sales page for a big ticket FinTech seminar, then write a blog post for an orthodontist within the space of a few hours. I didn’t realize that having the ability to write close to 10,000 words spread across 6 different projects in a single day wasn’t normal. And it surely wasn’t healthy.
I realized that something was up with my workload when I crashed a few months later. I couldn’t find the energy to get myself out of bed, and started developing carpal tunnel syndrome. When I was pulling 18 hour days, I had been on summer break from college. So when college resumed, I was toast. Literally.
I burned out.
Back at school, I was using the money I had made working online to pay for my college expenses. What happened that summer changed me undeniably however. It altered my view of my future completely. I had found my calling: writing, marketing and all the fun stuff in between.
The IT degree I was studying for suddenly became not what I wanted to do, and I quickly lost interest in it. (In all honesty, 80% of I had been learning up until that point were things that I already knew. Was the 20% really worth the tuition? I don’t think so.)
What was I going to do? I couldn’t give up the almost two years I had spent in college to follow my heart, right?
In true Devonnie fashion, I chose to follow my heart. I landed an internship at the largest food distribution company in the Caribbean, said hasta la vista to college and hello to corporate life. That internship laid the groundwork for the copywriting career that I have today. Later, I worked with UNICEF’s Voices of Youth on their blog. That gave me a unique perspective and trained me on the ins and outs of professional blogging and writing for the web. Those two experiences plus the subsequent corporate job I got as a business development officer confirmed two things to me:
- Writing and marketing are my calling. They probably ooze out of my pores or something. Aside from how skilled I am, the satisfaction they give me and my unbridled enthusiasm are unmatched in my life.
- The corporate life isn’t for me. The conglomerate I worked for is an amazing company, but it was a dinosaur. By the time you got to the top for approval to move the feet, the opportunity you could seize by taking the step was missed.
“Good copy wasn’t about the word count, or how quick it took you to write. It was about the end results. AKA how many people you’re able to make believe and take action on your offer.”
With those two lessons firmly in my mind, I made the switch back to working online. Specifically, being a copywriter. At first, I had missed the fast paced lifestyle of my online work. As the months wore on though, I found myself in a situation similar to the one I had been in before. I was working way too much, but something else had changed.
The change that sparked a new way of working
It’s part of my personality to always be learning, questioning and growing. So whilst working on my business, I was also on a ferocious self-education course. I was tearing through books, taking courses on copywriting that I could afford, listening to podcasts and hanging out with other copywriters online. I grew so much so fast that my situation began to frustrate me. Good copy wasn’t about the word count, or how quick it took you to write. It was about the end results. AKA how many people you’re able to make believe and take action on your offer.
Working on six different projects in a day didn’t give me the opportunity to flex my copy chops. I wasn’t able to implement all that I had been learning. I didn’t have enough time, plus the clients I had been working with couldn’t appreciate my work. They just weren’t at the stage of their business. There was a problem on my hands; I had to transition into working on less projects. Giving my clients better results meant that I had to give each of them more of myself.
That’s how I ended up here, (at least) 247,000 words later! With hundreds of hours of research under my belt and a taste of dozens of industries, I’m ready to start helping online business owners. My insanely sultry copy is the missing piece of their marketing plan.
Here’s a breakdown of the benefits that my almost three years of slogging away in the underbelly of the online copywriting world bring to the table, and what they translate to in the real world.
- I’m a fast writer. I can get my thoughts down in a Google Doc pretty quickly, and that helps me to outline content a lot quicker than the average writer. I use it to brainstorm ideas and create multiple angles for the copy I create in a reasonable space of time.
- I’ve got my research process down to a science. I should probably patent it because of how efficient it is. I can shake your target audience down and get into their heads. By the time I’m finished writing, it feels like I’m a fly on their walls.
- I’m a hard worker. Aside from the fact that I got carpal tunnel and burned myself out in order to fulfill client orders, I’m dedicated to my craft. I go the extra mile every time to ensure you get the best experience working with me, as well as the best copy. I don’t stop until the job is done, and done right.
- To date, I’ve probably worked with close to 600 different people online. I’ve had to relate to people who barely spoke English, as well as others who had different ways of life from me that influenced the way we worked together.
- This last point is pretty obvious. I have tons of experience. I’ve got knowledge of so many different copy styles and situations, as well as working knowledge of dozens of industries. I’ve been around the block and back tons of times, and that experience makes me insanely qualified to help you.
The big takeaway from this journey
What can I say? Writing more than 247,000 words of copy does a lot to a writer – burnout, carpal tunnel and nearsightedness to name a few; but it also gives them a unique perspective on marketing and copywriting on a whole. It’s not for the faint of heart (or the weak in fingers) but I wouldn’t trade that experience for the world.
I see the world of copywriting a little differently. My experience has helped me to find the sweet spot between efficiency and high quality content. I believe that it’s only after you’ve seen how far you can go, that you know where you should be.
I can show you what it did for me. Do you need copywriting or content for your online business? If you do, head over to my services page.
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