Being a copywriter in a company is a horse of a different color. Often times you’ll write something and hand it off to the next person in the chain -- a senior writer, a creative director, someone who will keep it moving through the system. They’ll make changes to it, and then the next person will make changes to it, and then the client will invariably make changes to it, and by the time it circles back to you -- if it ever does -- you can’t recognize a single word you wrote at the start. It’s been sanitized, homogenized, rewritten just enough so that someone else can take credit, client-ized, mutilated, spindled, devoured, and shat back onto your desk. It is not a warm, fuzzy feeling to see your work treated in this manner.
Of course, no copywriter expects their first draft to be a final draft. There are always tweaks to be made, and even the best copywriters will make edits to copy after letting it sit for a day or so. But there’s no happy ending when it comes to copy by committee. If it comes back unrecognizable but better, you feel like a failure. If it comes back unrecognizable but worse, you feel like you wasted your time.
So what’s an in-house copywriter to do? There’s only one reasonable solution, and that’s to do what the freelance copywriters do: let it go. Wash your hands of it. Accept that you’ve done your best and that there are forces beyond your control that are going to mess with your stuff no matter what. Find outlets for your writing where you can say whatever you want without input. And take plenty of deep breaths.
By Steve Boudreault