As a mum to two young - and rather energetic - children, I feel exhausted. A lot. Most of the time, I can fight through this and concentrate on writing when it's time to work, as even though working is tiring too, the change of scenery, thought process and activity is as much of a break, as well, an actual break.
So maybe sitting down and having a hot cup of coffee would be more relaxing, but I have got into the groove of working around the children, and find it relatively easy to flit between the two roles, demanding as they both may be.
However, there are days when I admit, the tiredness is too much. My eyes, even with my glasses on, feel heavy and I wonder if my words sound gibberish on computer screen or if they make as much sense to the audience as they do to me.
After a decade of doing this job, I am pretty confident that it is second nature to me - that the words do still flow, I can still research and find the right news, and I will still target the appropriate stories and tone that clients' readers want to hear. But tiredness can make me doubt this a bit, and I have to leave a bit of space between writing and proofreading to ensure when I do sub mine - or anyone else's - work, it is done with fresh eyes and a quick mind.
That's why I chose this quote at the end of this very tiring week. The truth is, we all struggle to be creative - even us creatives! The true professional is the one that succeeds in doing this despite all their doubts.
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I'm back on the blog train, and this week's post is about a great quote I found on reading.
Being able to write well, informatively and in a way that engages, and entices, other people all stems from learning to read. And learning to love to read.
I truly believe it starts from the beginning, telling stories to your children even before they can understand what they're being told.
By listening to these words, looking at pictures, and letting their imaginations run wild, they will accept reading as the norm, and be able to expand their mind, literacy and vocabulary in the meantime.
How often do we, as adults, let ourselves be bogged down with the humdrum of real life? Maybe if we adopted better reading practices, we would be able to escape into a fairytale world just as easily as children do.
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Eek! Has it really been six months since I last updated my blog? I should know better than most people this is a massive no no when trying to promote a business, but I'm afraid to say I have fallen victim to a lack of time.
While being busy writing for other people's websites, I have neglected my own, which goes against everything I preach to other businesses about boosting their SEO, getting them to rank higher in Google searches, and creating content to engage with their audiences.
But I guess I'm only human, and the fact that I know what it's like to let your blog fall to the bottom of the priority list means I can relate to all my clients. I know you don't have time to write a blog at the end of the working week, because I feel the same.
And that is why hiring a freelance copywriter to write blogs or news updates can take this load off your shoulders, as someone else will do the job for you. So when it comes to Friday afternoon, you don't have to think 'Crap, another week has gone by and I haven't written my blog' as you'll know someone - a professional at that! - has already has the task in hand.
And if you need reminding why it is so important to have good-quality content on your website in the first place, take a look at our latest Quote of the Week!
It's true that everyone can put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard!), but it is not true that everyone can write - to communicate, to engage, to send a message and, most importantly for businesses, to sell.
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It only occurred to me earlier today that in one week's time it'll be Bank Holiday Monday, marking the first of two national days off in May.
Now while most people are jumping up and down in excitement and counting down the hours till Friday when they can turn their out-of-office on and skip out of the office, the same can't be said for freelancers.
I used to be one of those people, getting excited about what I'd do with my day off - would I explore some vintage markets, enjoy a lazy lie-in, go out for brunch or see friends? But these days, it's a different story.
The overriding feeling when I found out it was bank holiday next week was 'Oh no! I'll lose money!'. One of the biggest downsides of working for yourself is not getting any holiday pay. People may be surprised at what you can earn if you could fill your entire day with work, but they don't take into account the fact that you can't - or shouldn't - work 365 days of the year. We have to account for the days off that are unpaid so we aren't left penniless every few months.
So freelancers are left with two options when it comes to bank holidays - suck it up, switch off Facebook for a day and ignore all your friends who are either catching up on their favourite boxsets or having a BBQ outside, depending on the weather, and just accept you will have to work. Or, you can take the day off like everyone else and forfeit a day's wages.
Of course, this choice is taken out of your hands somewhat when you have school-age children, because you will obviously now have them to look after. So while you might have once been able to shut yourself away and pretend it's a normal working day, this is not a possibility anymore.
You either have to take unpaid leave (crisis!), work while the chaos erupts around you and your one-year-old bangs on the keyboard while your four-year-old runs around the house naked screaming Moana songs, or you count the hours till you can tuck them in bed and work at night. No drunken afternoons sipping Pimms outside for you - you just have to get your head down and tap away at the computer furiously for a few hours while your friends and relatives are in a blissful bank holiday tipsy fog.
But it isn't all bad. Apparently, nearly five million people registered as self-employed in 2016, and freelancers and business owners account for 16 per cent of the entire UK workforce. So there must be a good reason why.
Well, I can vouch for this. I may have to work bank holidays, or sacrifice eight days (!) of pay a year for the public breaks, But I have the flexibility to work when I want, where I want. It's just I might not want to work this Monday.
Knowing lots of working mothers who really struggle to please their bosses while feeling guilty for not being there at pick-up or rushing to collect a sick child from school while their colleagues tut when they're leaping through the office doors, I know I'm lucky really. I certainly feel the stress when unforeseen circumstances arise and a deadline is looming, but then at least I have the option of working late into the night and still being there for my girls when they're poorly.
Let's face it, working when you've got children is never simple. And it might mean I miss out on family time this weekend or have to cut back on expenses this month, but I wouldn't have it any. other way.
So, everyone who is enjoying a bank holiday break this weekend, I hope you have a fab time off and the sun comes out for you. (No seriously, I do - you deserve it for the times you've been made to feel bad for leaving early or have to rush to a doctor's appointment with your boss breathing down your neck)!
And those of you who are hiding away like me, I feel your pain. But at least we can work in our PJs.
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Here I am on my grammar high horse again, but I think, as a professional copywriter, I am allowed to have a strong opinion about this subject.
It pains me when I see people and especially businesses use bad grammar in their written work. To me, and hopefully many others, it is poor form, looks unprofessional and even lazy.
I do appreciate not many people have studied English language to the extent I have or are writers by trade, but any company that struggles with writing, punctuation or understanding the correct use of colloquialisms (or whether they should be used at all!) would do well hiring a copywriter to be in charge of their internal and external literature (wink wink, nudge nudge).
Seriously though, if you are trying to advertise to the public, do it right, do it professionally and do it well. Otherwise, you could put off a lot of potential customers without even realising it, simply for the wrong use of an apostrophe!
Our quote this week has been inspired by World Book Day. Despite my daughter insisting on going into school wearing a Moana costume, making it look as though my kids only watch Disney movies and don't read any stories, we have read to our girls since the day they were born.
My four-year-old (the Moana fan) has hundreds of books and never goes to sleep without reading at least two. If she had it her way, she'd read all night long. And my second daughter (whom I dressed up as a star from Oliver Jeffers' How To Catch A Star, much to her humiliation) loves books too and she has only just celebrated her first birthday.
Why am I banging on about this? Because I agree that books are integral to children's education and development. Not only does reading obviously improve literacy and give them the confidence to write well (a difficult task when people so heavily rely on auto-correct these days), but it also increases their knowledge of the world, their understanding of social dynamics and, of course, their imaginations.
So, this quote from Dr Seuss seemed perfect this week.
Open a new book with your kids, teach them real use of the English language, and most importantly, unleash their imaginations.
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Everyone always assumes that as a writer, I must be a creative person. It's what I'm always told, but I've never really thought it to be true. I can't knit, my craft skills are not great, and I'm a terrible drawer. So I never really associated creativity as one of my interests, let alone my ability.
However, it's taken me 31 years (and 356 days) to realise that I AM creative, and more importantly, I LOVE it. I frustrate my husband no end when I list my hundred things to do in utter panic, but most probably because I prioritise things like creating photobooks, baking extravagant cakes and making scrapbooks full of memories as much as I do sorting out bank accounts, phoning solicitors and doing the laundry. They are all equally important to me.
So with limited time in my life (thanks to my two bubbly kids and a freelance career), it'd make sense to cut the stuff out that isn't important to most people - like making jam, painting a 'pin the tail' picture for my daughter's birthday party and endlessly filling in baby books. But to me, they ARE important. Maybe my life wouldn't change if I didn't do these things, but I would miss out on a lot of enjoyment. As much as they appear on my 'to do lists', they are things I want to do really, much more than folding clothes and cleaning the bathroom.
So I have decided that I should prioritise being creative, even if it does mean I take on a lot more projects. It helps me feel fulfilled and productive, and it makes me proud to see the final result.
Moreover, I think it's valuable as a copywriter to be creative. I can write an engaging introduction that no-one else may have thought of; I can produce descriptions that bring an ordinary scene or product to life; I can look at a content project and see how articles, features, nibs and blogs will all fit together in a way that remains exciting to the reader.
So, in the interest of my career (of course), I will encourage this creative spark and leave the dishes for later. After all, 'the more you use, the more you have'.
If you fancy using a creative copywriter for your business or enterprise, get in touch today.
For my Quote of the Week, I thought I'd go back to a classic remark from Ernest Hemingway.
Sometimes people think they sound more expressive, intelligent or meaningful if they convolute their sentences with lots of words. However, the best way to express yourself is to write simply, so the person reading really connects with your thoughts.
This isn't easy to do - and is the biggest reason why businesses need proofreaders like me - but it is essential in the world of copywriting. If you want your customers and clients to understand what you're selling, don't confuse them with sales patter!
If you need a proofreader to simplify your content or a copywriter to concisely sum up your USP and attract more business, get in touch with me today.
Today is my eldest daughter's birthday, so I thought I'd pick a quote that has summed up many of my experiences since she was born four years ago.
Anyone who has had a baby knows they transform your life forever, but I don't think you ever realise how much your path will chop and change till you become a parent. Nothing is quite the same and your journey will never be as linear and straightforward as it was when you were child-free.
I've changed my career and my direction lots over the years, and I am now, for the second time, coming off maternity leave to venture back into the working world.
But instead of being nervous or fearful, I want to be excited and hopeful.
As Linkin Park says, 'The hardest part of ending is starting again'. Well, I've done that ... twice. So the rest should be straight forward!
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I've chosen a profound quote this week, but after a bit of a health scare last Friday, it seems relevant at the moment. Obviously, everyone should appreciate what they have in all areas of life - their health, the people around them, their happiness, their opportunities and so on.
However, this quote is also relevant when it comes to work; you may never be satisfied with what you've achieved and brush past each accolade in a fruitless aim to always be better, or you may not realise how successful you even are.
I know I'm the biggest culprit at always wanting to improve on things, never feeling like I've done as much as I could or well enough, and continuously pushing myself to do more. But coming back to work from maternity leave has shown me how much I did before and how well I balanced the working life and being a full-time mother. It's not bloody easy, but I'd like to think my mum friends and my clients never felt I was lacking in either area - and probably didn't even know I juggled anything else at all. For that, I can finally say I'm proud of myself.
And as I try to do this again (albeit with TWO kids), I hope I can be a bit more forgiving on myself and have a better appreciation of what I'm actually achieving at the time - and not years later.
Maybe we should all give it a go?
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