Living the Writer's Life: Sally Morem
Writer Takes Inspiration from the Jolly Green Giant
As a child in the 1950s and ’60s, Sally Morem used to watch her father head off to work each day at the Giant Green Company in Le Sueur, Minnesota. She didn’t appreciate it at the time, but her father was deeply involved in creating one of the most famous advertising campaigns in history — the Jolly Green Giant (complete with its deep-throated “Ho! Ho! Ho!”). Today, Sally takes inspiration from her father’s work and helps self-development companies craft their own sales messages. It’s the perfect way to continue her family’s legacy in advertising.
How did your past work experience lend itself well to a new career in copywriting?
For 26 years, I read newspapers for a Minnesota clipping service. I estimate that over that time I read over 100,000 newspapers. I also wrote and edited the company monthly newsletter and a weekly construction newsletter. At the same time, I wrote essays on a number of subjects for magazines and newsletters. Technological developments took over the clipping service sector of the economy. Our company closed as people were able to find the information they used to seek from us online.
I decided to learn more about the kind of writing that would permit me to make more money. I found AWAI’s programs to be packed with useful information on how to do so. I was also happy to learn far more than I knew about how to influence the thinking and buying habits of people.
What kind of copywriting do you specialize in?
I provide a variety of copywriting services to small and medium-size publishers of self-development products, such as books, e-books, audiobooks, and courses.
My dream job would be to provide copywriting services to Great Courses. I’ve learned so much from their courses over the years. I would also love to work for Audible and Nightingale-Conant. Both feature superb books on a wide range of subjects that I’m interested in.
You recently won a B2B Writing Challenge and a PWA “Interesting Times” spec challenge. Tell us about the experience of entering and winning those contests.
I found the topics of great interest and decided I had a shot at winning. I did what I call freewriting, writing down anything that came to mind on the subject under discussion. I studied what I wrote and created a brief outline of the order I wanted to make each point. I organized the material in that order. I wrote and rewrote the material until I was satisfied with flow, clarity, word count, grammar, and so forth. I was a little nervous, but I knew the writing was good enough. So, I submitted my copy. That’s the key. You can’t win if you don’t submit.
I understand you’re retired now. Why is copywriting a good fit for you at this point in your life?
The timing was superb. I signed up for the Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting in August 2019 but didn’t do much with it until the pandemic. I decided that since I couldn’t do much outside of our southwest Florida condo (no community choir practice and concerts for me, no more condo parties, all had been canceled), I would buckle down and go through that program. It kept me productively busy.
What do you love most about your writer’s life?
I’ve been a writer for years, well before I even heard of copywriting. I truly love it. Writing is a concentrated and much more permanent form of thought. Instead of simply experiencing an interesting thought and letting it go, you can record it, shape it, sharpen it, make it into something that may turn out to be important to yourself and others. In short, writing is the perfect way to learn something, anything. And a perfect way to make it stick.
Do you have any writing goals you can share?
My favorite non-copywriting writing goal is to finally finish writing a science fiction novel. I’ve started several. Finished none. And I want to make the novel good enough to be published. I’m working on a first draft that features first contact with humans from the aliens’ point of view. Not exactly space opera, but hopefully loaded with a different form of tension and awe for my potential future readers.
What writing rituals do you follow?
I have tried using mellow music from YouTube while wearing earphones. Some of their videos include hours of piano or guitar work. They are gorgeous and unobtrusive.
Sally's Living The Writer's Life story was originally published in Barefoot Writer. To learn more about how you can start living your dream writer's life too, click here.
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