Interview with AWAI Member Glen Strathy
AWAI: Being a copywriter is quite a change for you. What’s been the best part so far?
Glen: Although I’m just beginning, I feel copywriting offers me the opportunity to enjoy much more freedom in my life. I like variety – the chance to work for short, intense periods of time on a variety of projects, each offering it’s own challenges. I also like coming up with creative ideas. And, I’ve always been good at research. Copywriting offers me all of these things.
But, even better, copywriting offers me the chance to work and live wherever I choose. For example, I can be working on a project for a client in Florida, while living on a lake in Ontario, Canada. In the future, I would like to live in Europe for a year or so. Copywriting will let me do that while continuing to earn a living. I also like setting my own hours. And working at home lets me spend more time with my wife and 2-year-old daughter.
AWAI: What have you learned from AWAI that you’ve applied to your copywriting career?
Glen: AWAI’s courses have been invaluable. In the past, although being a writer appealed to me, I thought that it meant being a poet, novelist, or playwright. (You might as well put “starving” in front of any of those three.) AWAI showed me there was an entirely different venue where writing was valued and rewarded. And, that copywriting can be as respectable as any other field of writing.
Moreover, I found that throughout the courses and bootcamps, I was actually learning a new way of thinking – about business, about the world, about relationships, and especially about advertising. I learned to see copywriting as a helping profession, and that let me get excited about it.
AWAI: What secrets from AWAI have helped you the most?
Glen: The Architecture of Romance certainly. And how to write in an effective voice and style. I was used to writing academic papers for university courses – where clarity, directness, and a personal voice are shunned. I find I can now pick up almost any sales letter that comes in the door and see the weaknesses instantly.
AWAI: How has mentoring added to your copywriting ability?
Glen: Working with a mentor helps ingrain the skills of writing good copy. Whenever I’ve gone astray, especially on the first few assignments I did, or when struggling with an approach for a project, I can count on my mentor to help me re-focus and correct any weaknesses.
AWAI: What advice would you offer students enrolled in AWAI’s copywriting program?
Glen: To persevere – it’s easy to get lazy about finishing the assignments, especially since the course is deceptively simple. I didn’t because I was pretty sure copywriting was what I wanted. So the small amount of effort it took was nothing compared to the potential rewards.