My Epiphany – OR – How I Became A Copywriter

How I Became A Copywriter

My Epiphany – Or – How I Became A Copywriter

 

The place was New York City; the time was early December.

It was the start of my sophomore year at university; I was 18.

The year was…well…none of your business. : )

Classmates and I had just won a “Skits & Songs” competition on campus when one of the judges (a marketing professor) congratulated me and confirmed that, yes, I wrote the skits and the songs.  He asked me what I was majoring in.  I told him Drama and Musical Theater.

What I heard from him next was not the typical “good job”.  He said, “Son you’ll never be Paul Newman and we already have one Zero Mostel.”  He suggested – strongly – that I take his course in copywriting the next semester.  I ended up taking his advice.

Fast Forward Five Months

The class was a gas.  Not only did I ace it, but I absolutely loved it.  It blended creative writing with psychology and focus, to produce marketing messages and advertising that helped people come to the best conclusion for them.

Being thrust into the business school, I found everyone had to show four semesters of employment in their field to graduate.  Whoa…this was unexpected to say the least.  But I figured to go along for a while and see what was what.

Prof K helped me get a summer paid internship with a Top Five international ad agency on Madison Avenue (it ended up lasting three years).  Initially, it got off to a rocky start when this too eager, too green, and too full of himself kid wanted to write on day one.

“Your job, Alan, is to get coffee, shut up, listen, and learn.”  It was crushing for a few days, but ultimately, I realized my boss had my best interests at heart.  So, shut up, listen, and learn, it was.  And did I ever learn.  The Techniques and Secrets of the World's Best Copywriters were laid out by my managers to study.  To think I could make a living just by writing...amazing!  I was becoming a copywriter.

Student In Reality, Copywriter in My Heart

By the time that first summer ended, I had written my first original copy.  Wrote jokes for the Merv Griffin show and even got paid for a few contributions to MAD Magazine. 

The die was cast, the love affair continued and, other than a year in Europe and a short activation in the U.S. of Army, and a few months of Summer Stock, copywriting became the major passion of my life, second only to my family and friends.

Just to think back to that summer where I interned 3 days a week, volunteered to move sets, sweep floors (yes, and get coffee) for the Circle In The Square Theater Company...where I watched a kid, just a bit older than me, play the lead in this forgettable play, "Eh!".  But that kid made it big.  And again I heard, "You ain't no Dustin Hoffman".

Do You Like To Write --- Or Do You HAVE To Write?

Would you like to learn a Skill Set that's desired in virtually all white collar jobs - and in all small businesses, no matter the industry?  I was lucky enough to be steered in the right direction.  Let me now pass it forward.

Take a few minutes of your time to visit my website.  There you'll find loads of Free Copywriting and Marketing Content.  You never know - as I didn't all those years ago - what could be waiting for you that you don't even know about.  

We can continue this later.  Meanwhile...Cheers!

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