The copy brief should be your currency. If someone buys a piece of work off you, they pay for it with the brief. No brief, no sell.
But from time to time we like to do things differently don’t we? This is when:
- Someone says “Can you proof this, it won’t take you long.” Ah-haaa, we’ve all heard that one haven’t we? I’ll be the judge of that. It’s needed quickly so you take pity on the poor gangrel creature before you and ask “OK, how many words is it.” “Ummmm, about 2,000.” Let’s see, 2,000 words, no problem. Should be done in half an hour. Then you receive four documents to proof, each of at least 1,500 words…
- You’re writing copy for a website but you can’t seem to nail down what’s required. “Just write as much as you think needs writing.” Well how much is that? You’re the producer, you tell me. I could write pages about weather patterns in Orlando but perhaps the reader’s more interested in the dietary habits of the echidna. I just don’t know. Please tell me. Please.
- You ask someone for a copy brief but he’s too busy. So again your heart melts cos he looks so helpless and vulnerable, and you go through it with him quickly. Then a week later you realise you forgot to write your notes up. So, where was that copy brief again that forms the basis of every piece of work you do…?
The brief. The brief. The goddamned brief. Never let yourself be cajoled out of doing it. You may be a soft fluffy copywriter but sometimes I swear you need to have the heart of a concrete elephant.