I’m proud to say I’ve built a full-time career around writing, as both a novelist and a copywriter.
That means splitting my time between the two. Usually I spend the morning writing novels, then spend the afternoon writing marketing and advertising copy for business clients.
(“Copy” is just fancy ad agency shorthand for “words that sell stuff.”)
I’m not alone. There have been innumerable examples of copywriters who also successfully wrote fiction. James Patterson, Salman Rushdie, Joseph Heller, and Dorothy Sayers, to name a few.
I’m not saying that I’m remotely in the same class as them. But I have written for hundreds of businesses, from little tech startups to big names like Home Depot and Saks Fifth Avenue.
I write copy for all sorts of things: company websites, blog posts, articles, case studies, sales letters, newsletters, landing pages, sales emails, pay-per-click ads, direct mail, brochures, you name it.
Writing copy requires quite a bit of discipline, research, and the willingness to develop specific skills. It will absolutely improve anyone’s storytelling abilities. It helps make your fiction writing punchier, better researched and more emotionally resonant.
It may sound counter-intuitive, but it’s true. A good copywriter, like a good novelist, has to know how to write in a way that connects with the reader’s emotions.
So if you’re interested in writing for a living, I suggest looking into copywriting as a possible business. Not only does it multiply your opportunities to make money writing, it will also make you a better writer. What’s not to love?