Where You Live: Hove
Job Title: Writer
Describe your job/role?
I specialise in online copywriting services, SEO copywriting and creative copywriting services, from websites to newsletters. I work freelance, running my own business. See www.inkspiller.co.uk
What is the best thing about your job?
Definitely doing what I love. I very much enjoy being my own boss as a freelance copywriter. I work much better that way. When you’re doing something you love it doesn’t feel like work, it feels like life.
What attracted you to it?
Just the fact I enjoy it so much. As long as I can remember, I wanted to be a writer, so I’ve always been a bit one-track minded but it wasn’t until I met working copywriters I realised I could make it my full time career.
What schools did you go to and what subjects did you take?
I grew up in Somerset and went to school there. I did 10 GCSE’s and 3 A-Levels in English, History, Sociology.
What was your favourite subject and why?
Sociology, because I was very interested in how society works. I was at university just as the Internet was taking off, and I became really interested in the impact of the new technology on the world. All my dissertations were about the Internet, I basically twisted my degree to study what I wanted.
Did you go to University / College and if so what did you study?
Sociology in the School of Social Sciences at the University of Sussex.
What was your first job?
Selling fridge freezers! I was 18 and I did some sales for a year to get money for University; I really enjoyed it and managed to triple sales. My first actual copywriting jobs were at university; I wrote for student publications and I had a job in the advisory service writing the handbooks and leaflets.
What does your career path look like?
After university I worked in a digital media agency in Brighton. Then I worked for the Cabinet Office for a few years where I was a web editor and provided copywriting services to UK Online - the campaign to get the whole of the UK on the Internet. My work got me nominated for Young PR Person of the Year. Before launching Inkspiller I had a couple of years out where I freelanced but mostly worked on my fiction writing. To my surprise I found I couldn’t be a fiction writer full time. I learned that my creativity flows under pressure, as a part of a busy life. I missed working in new media and actually I’m more productive in fiction writing now than I’ve ever been.
Wired Sussex has been very helpful to my career actually, when I graduated I found my first job through the website and since then have got some excellent clients as a result of it. In the future, it would be nice to employ other people. I’m quite specialised and focused in what I do but if I had associates I could branch out to other areas of copywriting that interest me, like online PR or teaching writing.
Which women have inspired and influenced your career?
I’ve always had good female role models, from my mum Lynn Packham, who’s a very wise woman, to Penny Dolby, who taught me everything about marketing and PR at the Cabinet Office. I now have a writing mentor Kay Sexton, from whom I’m learning constantly.
I’m also always learning from my peers. I help run Free Agents Brighton, a monthly meeting for female freelancers in any career. It started by word of mouth but now there are enough of us to keep it going regularly, every month. A website is forthcoming but please, if you want to join in, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
What would you say is your strongest attribute/s?
Obviously being a great copywriter is up there, but in my work, that’s not enough to be successful. The key to good copywriting is knowing what to say to the right people, in the right way, at the right time. It’s powerful knowledge, and makes the difference between a postive or negative response. Especially online where you have a split second to make your point.
What do you think is the most exciting/interesting thing about working in the digital media industry?
I love digital media because it’s so driven by the written word and the power of those words to connect with other people.
What advice would you give to people who consider entering the digital media industry?
Research shows that women are happier and advance more quickly in smaller companies and I think that’s true. I would say, get into a small agency and demonstrate your ability. There are likely to be more opportunities to do more of the work you’re interested in and to be recognised for your efforts.