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Creativity Agency

Are you a kinky copywriter?

By Andrew Boulton |

October 19, 2018 | 4 min read

I am a man of unfailing habit. Drop me from the sky into even the most uninhabitable locations and within 45 minutes I will be gobbling cheap charcuterie while I re-watch Con Air.

In life, aside from making me awfully boring and clogging my pores with the distinct whiff of translucent meats, my habitual nature doesn't cause any great problems.

kinky copywriting

But translate the same appetite for routine into my copywriting and I'm about as much use as a dildo made from scorpions.

Habit, with cosy malevolence, throttles originality. Preference of any sort, if allowed to calcify around your process, eviscerates your imagination.

The trouble is, none of us is naturally immune to habit. The human brain can be a timid piece of apparatus, dating back from the time when experimenting with the unfamiliar was liable to leave you headless and quivering at the end of a pterodactyl's beak (please don't point out the appalling anthropological inaccuracies).

As such, the modern copywriter has inherited a fondness for routine that has been 8 billion years in the making (again, I know this is wrong, be quiet).

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But while our endless capacity for habit may still keep us out of danger, it also blankets our creativity in a gentility it does not need.

Copywriting is not a profession for the risk-shy – even if the wider industry still has an uneven relationship with creative recklessness.

Habit and curiosity are doomed lovers. And, however messy the divorce may be, a copywriter should always seek custody of their more impulsive urges. And your Shabba Ranks CDs.

The problem is often that we are blind to our own habits. By their very nature, the auto-pilot elements of our creative method go unseen, humming along in the background like a computer's fan or an Ed Sheeran song.

Which is why every copywriter should continually unpick their own creative tapestry. Make sure they don't drift from brief to brief with the same style, the same desk, the same construct, the same joke, the same words – bucketing out slop and chum that's all been chopped from the same old sources.

Instead, our process should be kinky. Not in the sense that we handcuff ourselves to a gimp and write with a pencil in our teeth. Kinky in the sense that we are constantly looking for the next creative thrill, experimenting with the uncomfortable in the hope that discomfort will give us something new. Kinky in the sense that, if we've tried it once, we won't try it again for a bit, so rich is the promise of untouched spaces and unspanked alphabetical bottoms. Kinky in the sense that writing must feel exciting in order to sound exciting.

And if we fail to add this kinkiness to our writing, where are we? Sat in the tundra, watching a man in a vest beat people up on a plane, wondering, forlornly, where all the ham has gone.

Follow Andrew on Twitter for more perfectly accurate natural history

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