Archive for August 20th, 2008


Many people tell me that they could never be a copywriter because they suck at receiving criticism. That’s okay, I tell them – most people suck at GIVING criticism, too! And man, it’s the truth.

Copywriting is a very subjective endeavor. Until you turn in your draft, it can sometimes be difficult to know if you are on the right track. Fortunately, every writing client is thoughtful, adept at dealing with creative people, and always prepared to give constructive feedback. Helpful, insightful comments to help sharpen your copy, like:

  • Try Again!
  • WRONG!
  • ???????
  • “Two thumbs DOWN. Would that I had more thumbs with which to condemn this atrocity!”

With me, it’s never the content of the critique that offends. Different people have different definitions of quality, or what it means to hit the mark.  And I have a real ability to turn off the pride switch and say, hey, you’re signing the check.

Where I draw the line is with comments like those listed above…idiotic exclamations that basically say, “I don’t know what I’m after, but this ain’t it.”  Unnecessarily harsh criticism that goes way beyond the draft copy, insulting the writer’s intelligence and questioning his talent.  It causes bad blood, and makes the job more difficult.

If you’re like me, your goal is to add value. Naturally, you want the client to be happy with your work.  But in situations like this you will never make him happy. You will merely bring the work to an acceptable level of quality.  In other words, it will  never be GOOD, just good enough. The experienced copywriter sees this and, unfortunately, mentally checks out. It’s just a gig now, one you hope to wrap up as quickly as possible.

I’ll leave you with the words of Dale Carnegie: Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain…and most fools do.

Graphix credit: freedigitalphotos.net/stuart miles

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