Write Hot, Edit Cold – By @lucyannp_
By Lucy Pennock
Write Hot, Edit Cold
Write like you talk they said.
“Write like you’re talking to your mates down the pub.”
But what if how I speak down the pub reads like jumbled up non-cohesive ramblings?
It doesn’t matter they said. Copy is short. Sharp. Ungrammatical.
“Write like you speak, Lucy.”
OK, noted. I can do that. Nothing too terrifying in that advice. But what if you speak in umms and ahhhs, likes and superlatives. No one um wants to read ahh that stuff, it’s like literally so boring and seriously um like un-engaging. What does one do then? Fuckin’ disgustin’ that is. Ah brain fart. Shhhhh brain. Stop stop blurting crap out like. See this is why I can’t write like I talk down the pub because I say weird shit. “I’VE GOT A BLANK SPACE BABY AND I’LL WRITE YOUR NAME.” Ah brain, NO. No singing Taylor Swift. Back to talking about copy and writing. Professionalism. Darwin. Robert Frost. Oh my giddy aunt. My brain is uncontrollable right now. It’s cackling in the background. Thoughts cascading back and forth in my prefrontal cortex. Window screen wipers in a torrential downpour. Pssshhhhh. Men are trash. Lol what a stupid stupid phrase. Truth in it though. Stupid stupid. Feminism. Pahaha. Leaves. Stop linking unrelated words together brain?! OK calm. CALM.
That is why I can’t write like I talk. Or worse think.
The best bit of writing advice I’ve received was from Chris Hill. A mentor I have a lot of respect and time for. He’s brilliant. Bright, sharp-witted but most of all relaxed and easy going. He told me once that it’s always best to “Write with the heart. Edit with the head.” Or put even simpler – “Write hot, edit cold.”
Writing for me is a form of catharsis, emotional release. I like to think of myself as a combination of Bridget Jones, Dolly Alderton and Luce Irigaray – blended into one jumbled up type-character. Honest, dim-witted, tongue-in cheek but always heartfelt. When I write the passion and emotion has to be there. I can’t talk about cars or washing powder unless I know the product inside out. I need to feel something for it. I have to get under the brand’s skin, psycho-analyse it and then I can write.
Ah but that dreaded screen of doom. Or if you’re old school like Chris – that piece of paper. It’s starting that’s the hardest part. It’s weird because I really do love writing. Vomiting my thoughts out and just getting things off my chest. Like I said, words are my release. As they form into sentences and then paragraphs and then pages – they become snapshots of my life at that exact moment in time. It’s a form of reflection. It’s a way of listening to myself, understanding myself, interpreting my needs and my desires, my fears and my dreams.
But for some reason I’ve stopped writing. I don’t really know why. I just have. I think it’s because I’ve been busy with the course. F*ck me it takes up a lot of time. I wrote so much before I started SCA. Nearly every single day. I wrote poetry, I kept a diary. I just spent my mornings typing away; sipping coffee, happy and content and mentally lighter because of it.
That’s why I love writing SCABS. It forces me to write. I have a deadline and I have to without fail produce something. Most people I know on the course dislike them. They find them arduous. But I love them. If Marc made me send him a SCAB every day I honestly would. So maybe that’s what I need to do. Write a SCAB everyday.
To finish up here are a few excerpts of writing I did over the summer. Some of it’s fictional, some of it’s 100% just word vomit. But it doesn’t matter. It’s the act of writing that counts.
So here’s to writing all my fellow copywriters – writing with the heart and editing with the head. Starting hot, and finishing cold.
That’s how you get the job done.
Sunday 17 June: 11:24am
[…] Weirdly enough we would always have these sorts of chats in hipster coffee shops. I remember crying over expensive flat whites as hot tattooed bar tenders looked at us in both horror and sympathy. Just another twenty something young woman being dramatic and self-absorbed. Classic.
Tuesday 19 June: 08:45am
[…] I can’t predict the future – trust me I’ve tried. But what I can do is write, talk and let my emotions fill the screen in front of me. No judgment, no scrutiny, no reply. I never thought writing would be for me. It was for the literature buffs like my sister who grew up devouring novel after novel, whilst I read a Mary-Kate and Ashley book once a month. I thought it was for someone who actually wrote for a living like a journalist or academic. But soon I realised that anyone can be a writer if you just pour words onto paper; or in 2018 – a laptop. You can be humorous and honest. You can be narcissistic. And you can do it solely for yourself.
Thursday 9th August: 17:16pm
An Ode to Taylor Swift
Fearless from the start.
You rocked your reputation
But turned it into art.
With hooks that would last.
Words fuelled with fury.
You wrote off the past.
Friday 26th August: 12:35pm
[…] Because I was never able to chip away at his insurmountable armor I came to the conclusion that he was this perfect, unflawed human being. And I was simply the opposite. Whatever he said I believed. Whatever he did I copied. We were so in sync. But I knew that deep down I was giving too much of myself away.
Monday 13th August: 13:16pm
[…] Today I feel really lost. Like I’ve got no anchor, no direction, no wind in my sails. I don’t know whether it’s boredom or fear of the unknown or just a general down day. God why is this still so hard? I’m moving on in my life – I got into SCA and I’m so excited to start in a few weeks. But it also just feels weird to not share it with anyone. I hope it gets better than this. Things may be on the up in some sort of sense but this feeling of feeling so alone is unbearable. It’s too much. I fear I’m going to be alone for a long time in my life and that is my deepest fear.
Tuesday 21st August: 09:45am
Keeping Up With the Kalabreses
Poor old broccoli.
You lost out to tenderstem
Your thinner, better looking cousin
Tall, lean, mean and green
You sit sadly on the shelf
As middle-class Mums glide by
In yoga pants, pushing prams
Health conscious with cash to burn
But how silly they are
For you are superior
More nutritionally sound
Twice as much Vitamin C
Double the folate
Triple the potassium
Father of the brassica family
You are British royalty
All hail King Calabrese
Thursday 25th October: 08:35am
[…] Today feels like a good day. Great even. For a number of reasons. Number one being that I’ve made coffee in a KeepCup before 09:00am and am subsequently waltzing around on the London underground giving the impression I’m an organised domestic goddess who has her life together and cares deeply for the environment. I also have put on deodorant. And have moisturised my legs. Winning all round really.