Every so often, I look back over the last few years and see how far I’ve come.
From the days when I knew nothing about copywriting and just fumbled my way through some early projects without much clue as to what I was doing.
I didn’t get everything wrong in those early days. My instincts were usually correct, and I’ve been writing since I was a kid.
But I did get a lot of it wrong.
And when I think about how I was able to grow so much in such a short period of time, I realize it’s really due to one thing.
I am given the opportunity, every single day, to write. I’m given free reign to be as creative as I want, because my manager trusts me and knows I’ll do a good job.
And that matters.
The more you write, the better you’ll get. It’s not just experience. Things will start clicking for you. You’ll do something the same way once, twice, a third time—and then ask yourself, “What if I did it this way?”
I am given, everyday, the ability to experiment with my craft, and my craft is better off for it.
At this point you may be wondering: “what if you get it wrong?”
That’s the risk with experiments, after all.
Some of them explode.
But my manager doesn’t think like that. So I’ll get it wrong. I’ll learn, and next time I’ll get it right.
But I’ve worked for clients who have a very different attitude.
They’re terrified of getting it wrong—so terrified that they’re unwilling to risk anything.
It can’t be creative. It can’t be funny. It can’t be anything that might possibly go down with the wrong way.
Stick with the norm, they say. With the tried and proven.
This attitude is limiting. People don’t want the norm today. The market is full of the norm. If you’re the only one in your niche then sure, talk about whatever you want, but how many people are the only ones in their niche?
You don’t stick out with the norm.
Recently, OK Cupid came out with a new ad:
It’s bold. It’s daring. It’s controversial. Already, there’s a campaign to stop it based on the claim that it promotes lesbian sex, prostitution, drug use, and promiscuity.
Who knows? Maybe it does do all those things.
All I know is the first time I saw it, I laughed.
Because it’s not the norm.
And its caught everyone’s attention because of it.
Now obviously, this isn’t a rule. Some things should never be done wrong.
Especially if your customers are paying for it.
But when it comes to being creative, sometimes the only way to get it right is to put yourself on the line and try something new.
Eli Landes is one of those weird writers who just can't get enough. A marketing writer by day and a fiction writer whenever he can squeeze in the time, he spends his spare time working on his novel, writing short fiction, or daydreaming (I mean, researching). His main genre is Jewish fiction, but he's been known to dabble in the weird, the absurd, and the truly dark.