Copywriters make grammar mistakes. It’s time to get over it.
There’s no worse feeling than looking up from your desk to be met by a smug face looking back at you. The root of this smugness is often having just pointed out a spelling or grammar error in my work.
“I thought you were a copywriter?” they jeer, as though it’s the same thrill someone might get from nutmegging Lionel Messi with a football. Not that I think I’m the Lionel Messi of the copywriting world. I’m probably more of a James Milner to be honest, I try hard and I’m not without talent (or so I’m told), but every now and again I punt one right into the stands for a throw in.
Copywriter, yes. English teacher, absolutely fucking not.
The truth is, my copy is often littered with spelling and grammatical errors before it’s edited. At least the first draft is. I like to write with a fast flow, with no time to stop and self edit whilst I’m at it. My train of thought is about to leave the station and I don’t have time to be worrying about whether to use a comma or a bloody semi-colon. I’m afraid that will just have to remain one of the great mysteries of life.
In my opinion, the value of good copywriting isn’t that it’s polished and error free. If it’s well edited and proofread by a second pair of eyes then this should never be an issue anyway! It’s that it hits its mark and makes the audience feel a certain way. It’s about the selection of words and the order you put them in, the voice you use and ultimately whether it delivers on its goal.
Similarly, I think we’ve reached an impasse with language. All of those tricky rules we were taught to obediently follow in stuffy classrooms, do they really ring true today? I, for example, was warned never EVER to start a sentence beginning with the word ‘and’. And to be honest, I think that’s absolutely bollocks. Write with a freedom that transcends traditional grammar, just make sure it’s good!
So, feel free to correct me in the comments any way you like. No, really. I need the criticism and mistakes absolutely must to be amended. Just please, don’t be so god damn smug about it.