Happy birthday to me

24 October 2013

Copywriting, as we’re endlessly told, is all about YOU, the client. But for just a few minutes, I’m going to get shamelessly self-indulgent. I’ve earned it.

Ten years ago, with my son just six weeks old, I received two weeks’ notice of my redundancy from the medical-communications firm I worked for in Cheshire. I say ‘worked’ but, since they never actually gave me any work to do, that’s stretching things slightly. I was also enduring a 100-mile-round-trip commute that left me drifting in and out of consciousness for most of my waking life.

Freelance copywriter

With no need to actually work out my time, there was never any doubt about what I would do next. Armed with a small cheque and a few key items from the stationery cupboard, I bade them farewell in the politest possible way and instantly launched my career as a freelance copywriter.

That was the 23rd of October 2003. Ten years and 1500 assignments later, I’m amazed that some stellar names have passed through my in-tray. They include Siemens, Hitachi, Electrolux, Honda, GROHE, The National Trust, the Royal Bank of Scotland, Norwich Union, RAC, NetJets, Reebok Direct and TMP Worldwide.

Copywriting freebies

I’ve had a paid-for day at Center Parcs and a client-funded night at The Midland Hotel in Manchester, had free cameras and other freebies sent my way, won three awards in three months, and enjoyed away days everywhere from Dudley to Dusseldorf.

The only hold-up on my morning commute comes if someone’s left a shoe on the stairs. I get to take my daughters to daytime tennis coaching, and they’re now county-ranked players. I take time off when I feel like it, and am always available for family taxi duties. That six-week-old infant who I was worried about feeding all those years ago is now a bright, happy, mischievous lad of ten.

So, I’d like to thank that nameless medical-communications firm for the opportunity. It’s not been a bad old decade.

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