Being a writer can mean a lot of things to different people. For some, as long as you’re hammering away at a keyboard and producing, you’re a writer. For others, there is a certain kind of writer you want to be and nothing short of that goal is satisfying.
But is it better for your craft to be more liberal or strict?
While writing of any sort is better than daydreaming and under-committing, understanding what type of writing can help and hurt is important for pushing forward in your career.
As stringent as copywriting can sound or even feel, it can be just as creative as eloquent prose.
For those who are partial to showy vocabulary and drawn out description, writing copy can feel choppy and boring at first.
Who can it help: Passive Voice Violators
The beauty of writing copy, whether it be for ads, blogs or website, is that it forces your language to be more intentional. Because the purpose of copywriting is to persuade your reader to take action, you’ll find force in your words.
While painting beautiful pictures will be key for setting the scenes in your novel, presumably, you’ll want your characters to do something as well. Learning to move your readers to the next step will help you keep actionable plot lines in mind as you write your next masterpiece.
But copywriting isn’t the only type of writing that can help push your skills forward.
The Joys of Journalism
Hard-hitting journalism can be unappealing to the introverted writer. Leaving the quiet corners of novel writing to do an exposé on a stranger is a nerve-racking experience.
Who can it help: Emotional Mannequins
The most overstated writing advice out there is probably “write what you know.”
While it makes some sense to keep your writing world within the realm of your experiences, that advice can stunt story development. If you haven’t experienced similar emotions as your characters it can sometimes feel like you’re developing a plastic version of the emotions you’re trying to present.
And while you may not have the ability to create the heart and soul of some situations for yourself, you could get closer to them by interviewing someone who has.
Through journalism you can get closer to the human experience and be in the presence of genuine sentiment.
If writing novels is an amusement park, technical writing is the DMV. While copywriting lives within the business realm, it still allots plenty of room from creativity. Technical writing on the other hand, is straight forward to a fault.
About as tough to write as it is to read, this form can make a creative writer feel like the life is being sucked out of them. One dry statistic at a time.
Who it can help: Perpetual Procrastinators
Writing technical documents can teach any writer a solid lesson in fortitude. While it may not be as delightful to write, the task-oriented nature of these pieces propels you to the end.
It can also, like copywriting, help to curtail some tendencies to be overly lavish with your vocabulary.
Is any of this fulfilling?
While there is no doubt that each of these endeavors will provide their own set of skills, can they make your heart flutter the way pouring characters and new worlds onto a page will?
There is a certain level of thrill that comes with see your words steering customers towards a purchase. Or feeling a dusty news report evolve into an impassioned tale of perseverance.
You don’t have to be doing the writing you want to be doing every time you type. The point is that you are extrapolating skills every time you do it and feeling the power your words can have outside of the fictional sphere.
You could also open yourself up to more financial opportunity by broadening your horizons. A hearty freelance career can help back your ability to spend time doing what you really love: writing your next novel.