As copywriters, we are a nation of introverts.
Let’s be clear that the extent of my psychology degree is a messy pile of ¼ read books on the topic…
(we’re also rather prone to attention deficit issues)
I’m pulling this not just from my ass, but equally from my 17 years of experience coercing and cajoling myself – and many other copywriters – to get out of our heads and into better conversations with “strangers” (often in the form of paying clients).
There are various descriptions of what it means to be an introvert, however, if you ARE one, you know it.
For the rest, here are some telltale signs:
- Even in the most comfortable social situations, mid-conversation, you find yourself randomly fantasizing about the moment you’ll be alone again, free to unpack every conversation you had that day and evaluate just “how weird” that one thing was that you said to that one person (who surely has forgotten it completely)…
- Although you’ll rarely admit aloud, your “dream vacation” involves you alone, in a place you love, only speaking to people when the instinct kicks in and ensuring you can end it the second it shows signs of becoming exhausting (like when a gregarious rando says, “what are your plans while you’re in town?”)…
- “Life of the party” types that extraverts gather around and “crack up” at are the same ones you spend the whole evening avoiding like a knife-wielding madman in a dark alley…
Most of us introverts are some level of “ambivert” who can bounce between “intro” and “extro” as needed, confident that we’ll survive by recharging our life energy like a video game character collecting power pellets once we’re alone again.
But, if your introvertness is on the extreme side and you consider yourself an “Allison Reynolds” using the Breakfast Club Intro-meter (which I’m pretty sure I just made up, so if it goes viral, remember I get credit ;)…
Then, sorry to break this to you, but you’re at risk of suffering a critical deficit as a copywriter.
It’s important to be blunt here, because there are many others purveyors of freelancing instruction who will gleefully LIE in their overpromising headlines with claims like, “works even if you’re so shy you can barely look people in the eye.”
And while “technically” you could get away with only communicating with clients via text where it’s easier to fake a personality, it would greatly hobble your income – relegating your client-getting options to low-budget freelancing sites where cheap one-night flings are the standard.
“Well, thanks for that good news, Rogers,” The Allisons are thinking. “So, I’m just screwed then?”
To which I say, “Hey, hard conversations are the most respectful ones you can have.”
So, yes, it may be true that if you’re literally too shy to have a good conversation with a stranger, then freelance copywriting is not the right career for you.
There are plenty of other careers where you can thrive without having to look people in the eye.
Where, in fact, it might even meet the specific requirement. Say, barista in a hipster coffee shop.
But, if your BC Intro-meter(™) is hovering somewhere left of John Bender – fear not.
Dr. Kev, bootleg PsyD, comes bearing hope…
Because (as my friend Rob Tillman likes to say) “here’s the blip:”
There’s ONE character trait a copywriter absolutely must possess…
… and if you possess it to the degree where it overpowers your shyness for the greater good of performing the craft…
… then you’re good to go.
I’ll cliffhang for time and pick up next week with what it is – and why it is the driving force behind every piece of great copy you’ve ever marveled over.
If you’re game, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me what you think it is.
This’ll be fun.