Choosing where you get to work each day is just one part of the beautiful dream of becoming a freelance copywriter.
You’re free, a digital nomad, a renegade. You work wherever you want.
Reality is a little more bitey. Finding somewhere to get the job done isn’t always quite what you imagined.
In this post Amanda Van Elderen shares the top six place us copywriters love to write.
If you like pina coladas: Barefoot and beachy copywriter
You stretch out and let your toes dangle in the warm Pacific waters. The tide slowly comes in as you finish your final draft. Perfect.
The sea air inspires you to write yet another blog post on your amazing lifestyle choices, and you relax with a cocktail or three. What time is it? Who cares!
You have sand in all your crevices, laptop and otherwise. Low power mode was 2 hours ago; you’re about to flat-line.
A client calls and you try being chatty and helpful while getting them the hell off your dying phone.
The tide comes in while you chat, and the clever placement of your deck chair in a secluded spot has left you stranded on a small yet perilously high sand dune. You remember you can’t swim. And there goes the phone battery.
Pass the sugar: Café copywriter
Windswept, interesting, soy chai latte drinker. Linger at your table and pump out a cheeky 2000 words as the staff slip you a free muffin.
They don’t mind you ordered one coffee, three hours ago. People wait for a table, glancing at your corner booth and respectfully lowering their eyes.
You’re a writer. You’re writing. You could be working on the next great Australian novel. Not a promotional email for an air conditioning installer.
Order a meal you don’t mind getting cold, which will not betray the time you arrived.
Only rookies order bacon and eggs if they want to lurk until 3pm. You try to look slightly annoyed at your screen, like you’re under A LOT of pressure.
No one will approach you, or question you, and older people will assume you’re some kind of crazy workaholic who pays all the tax.
Shhhhh: Library copywriter
Nothing gets the copywriting mojo going like the Dewey Decimal System. You feel as free as the wi-fi as you soak up inspo from the literary greats.
The quiet of your environment is interrupted, nay complemented, only by the soothing hum of photocopiers and the occasional crisp page turn. This is a place for serious work.
The last seat you can find near a coveted power point is next to the kids play area. Yes, play area. No one is telling anyone to shoosh anymore.
You forget your headphones (again) and are stuck (again) next to the guy running a math-tutoring ring. Cons: he is an uncomfortable combination of loud and socially awkward. Pros: you finally learn how to apply Pythagoras’ theorem, and think about retaking your HSC math exam.
Peak hipster: Co-working copywriter
Surrounded by creative types, you break briefly from your salon-style Kafka discussions to update your Joaquin Phoenix fan page.
You wax lyrical on the fair trade coffee from the impeccably clean kitchen, and flirt dangerously with the mysterious freelancer at desk 37a. You should stop socialising and do some work, but they like you! They really like you!
You arrive 3 minutes too late to get the last desk and have to balance your laptop on your actual lap.
On a beanbag. Like a peasant.
The wi-fi is a bit dodgy, and you’re right next to the only working printer. You’re surrounded by people born in 1998, coincidentally the last time the toilets were cleaned.
Planes, trains and automobiles: Public transport copywriter
You balance your laptop deftly, barely grazing the commuter next to you.
You’ve read all the books on productivity, so you know writing on public transport is making the most of your commuting time to a ‘real’ job.
The rich tapestry of your fellow passengers lives gives real grit to your copy.
You edit a new project before you reach your stop, and smile in amazement at how neat, affordable and not at all foul smelling public transport is. It’s practically a mobile office. Bravo taxes, bravo.
You sprint to the train, and set your steely-eyed gaze on the single seat near the door. You need that space or you can’t open your laptop.
A granny with a walking cane comes out of nowhere and you’re relegated to the 4 seater, facing the wrong way, knees touching.
Rolling your eyes too hard at people chatting in the quiet carriage gives you a headache.
You snort yourself awake as you approach your stop, and emerge blinking into the daylight like a mole from the subterranean depths.
Where the heart is: Home office copywriter
What an oasis of calm and productivity.
Your copywriting flows as if from a veritable fountain of knowledge, as you produce the clearest, most brand friendly content a client could dream of.
It was so easy, it feels wrong to charge them, so you call and let them know you’ve refunded their deposit.
This one’s on you.
You can barely get to your desk because the washing pile has expanded to a full blown mountain range.
There’s no putting it off. So you put it off, and climb towards the space you last saw the desk.
Wedge yourself into a corner and realise there is no chair. Scale Washing Mountain to find a chair.
Chair knocks picture off wall, glass breaks.
Remove all washing and shake out broken glass. You hear a noise… it’s just your deadline whooshing by as you play in shards of glass and regret every decision you’ve ever made that led you to this point.
Find your own way
Seriously, every copywriter will find an approach that works for them. I sneak into the toilet with my iPad under my shirt.
Tip: Show no sign to baby or toddler (or husband) you may be doing anything enjoyable or productive. Write furtively for 8-9 minutes. Don’t get greedy.
Good luck and may your writing space have more in common with Mad Men than The Fugitive.
Editors note: Kate Toon
I’ve tried all the above and nothing beats building your own little writing cave. Here’s mine.
Over to you
What’s the strangest place you get writing done? Ever worn out your welcome? Let us know in the comments below.
Who is Amanda Vanelderen?
Amanda Vanelderen from WorkWords is a copywriter and communication specialist.
She recommends copywriting in a restaurant. If they think you’re a really indiscreet reviewer, you might get a free taco.