Sure, copywriting involves presenting your work to groups and collaborating with individuals or teams regularly—two things that introverts classically avoid. But there are a few key tactics that can actually make copywriting just as perfect for an introvert as for an extrovert. Read on…
Today’s question comes from Matt H. who asks, “I consider myself an introvert and I’m worried this might affect my success as a copywriter. Should this be a concern for me?”
Allow me to give you a short answer and then an in-depth, listical answer. Can introverts be successful as copywriters? Absolutely. A lot of a copywriter’s job involves crafting copy by oneself. You just can’t write good copy without spending at least some time holed up, by yourself, with just a computer as your companion.
That said, though, there are a fair amount of copywriting job responsibilities that involve interacting with others and even speaking in front of groups. So, to make sure that 1) doesn’t scare you to pieces and 2) you’re prepared to make it work, I’ve created a list for introverts of five secrets for being successful (and happy) as a copywriter.
1. Don’t worry.
Wait – before you breeze past this one, it’s not as flippant as it sounds. For many introverts (or people who walk the line of introversion and extroversion), one of the greatest tortures isn’t even actually interactions, it’s the anticipation of them.
Many people will psych themselves out before a meeting or before a creative review so that, no matter how the meeting actually goes, they feel terrible during it and thing they performed terribly afterward.
It’s crucial that you go into every job and job opportunity with an open mind. You don’t know ahead of time precisely what any job will entail, so don’t make yourself miserable with worry if you can possibly help it.
Instead of worrying that a copywriting job will make you miserable, instead focus on the fact that many introverts have very successful careers as copywriters and you can absolutely be one of them.
2. Cultivate your relationships
As a copywriter, you’re going to work closely with your graphic design partner—and this is a good thing for introverts.
This is a relationship that’s going to build slowly over time, but it’s going to be an important one for you. This person will be someone you can rely on and someone who will get you.
You won’t have a problem letting this person know when you need some alone time and you won’t have a problem letting this person know when you need some help puzzling through a problem. This person (and maybe a product manager or maybe your creative director, too) becomes your support network and helps to make the group interactions a lot more bearable.
3. Be prepared
One of the biggest elements of concern for introverts is the creative review. After all, you have to stand up in front of a room of people and explain your work.
But wait: Before you close this page with an “I’ll never be able to do that!” let me explain just a bit more about it to you.
There’s absolutely nothing extemporaneous about a creative review. Because you’ve put thought and strategy into every single one of your words and how they interact with the layout, you already have an answer to every single thing that anyone could ask you!
When you put careful thinking into your work (as you always should), you’re always prepared with answers. And, even beyond that, if someone asks you a question like, “Did you think of doing XYZ?” your answer can simply be, “No, I didn’t. Let me think about it a bit.”
A creative review is simply a conversation among people who care about a project regarding how to make that project even better. It isn’t a firing squad and, in many ways, it’s so much more collaborative than a classic “presentation.”
When you go into a creative review, you’re already going to know what to say. And that’s going to make it so much easier.
When you present your work, it’s rare that you’re going to be presenting to an entirely new group of people each time. In fact, it’s very likely that you’ll be presenting to roughly the same group of people every single time.
And that means that, simply by virtue of presenting again and again, you’ll be practicing. Seeing the same faces will make it easier each and every time you do it. And the easier it gets with this group, the easier you’ll find it will get with new groups.
Remember, too, that you don’t need to just practice with this group. If you’re concerned that your nerves might get the better of you, get a group of your friends together and present your work to them, just the way you would in a creative review.
Practice might not make perfect, but it sure makes things a lot easier and more comfortable.
5. Find a space for yourself.
Generally, the way the project lifecycle will go is that you’ll attend a project kickoff meeting, you and your designer will spend some time concepting the project, and then you and he/she will separate to take care of your respective copy/design pieces. (Later, you’ll come back together to refine them and then present the whole thing.)
And you’ll be working on your own, but you might not necessarily be working “alone.” Many offices now feature open layouts, which mean low cubicle walls (if there are cubicles or walls at all) and lots of interaction.
But, of course, that’s probably not going to be conducive to you doing your best work, or even just recharging yourself after a few hours of talking, meeting, etc.
What do you do? Find a spot for yourself. Whether you go grab a conference room, stake out a little nook in the kitchen, or even let your team know you’re going to the library for an hour and they can reach you on IM, you are perfectly within your rights to get some alone time.
In fact, people expect this of creative! You need time and room to collaborate, of course, but people also understand that you need time and room to create by yourself. So when you need that space and you need that separation, never be afraid to take it.
I want to finish quickly by making a simple assurance: There are plenty of copywriters (and graphic designers) who consider themselves very much introverts and they do perfectly well at their jobs. Do they need to closely guard their alone time? Sure. Might they need to find somewhere quiet and separate to work? Absolutely. But they rise to the challenges of the creative industry and they succeed. And you can, too.
Your turn! Are you an introvert? Do you have tactics for remaining calm and comfortable during a hectic workday? Share with us in the comments below!