Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Copywriting - a passion for sacrifice?

Yesterday, Matthew Hill posted a passionate and articulate blog about the mindset of a professional writer; it was witty, it was poignant, it had an asterisk.

I'm sure the piece echoed the thoughts (and fears) of many writers and, while there was a lot of material for those in the pen-to-paper business to emphasise with, I was struck by one very simple argument.

I'll let Matt describe it in his own inimitable style:

"And there’s never enough time, is there? Never enough time. In from work, out of clothes, on to the settee. Making time where there is none."

I've been painfully aware that my SEO blog has been neglected of late. When I started Manchester SEO, I wanted Google to feast on a meaty update every week. I wanted it to fill its face with keywords, juicy anchor text and freshly caught inbound links.

Judging by the latest ranking report, I get the impression Google has been visiting other blogs for its supper.

It's all an issue of time.

I imagine it's an issue for many other writers.

Finding the time to bash out a quick blog in the minutes it takes for an oven to preheat. In from work, out of clothes, on to the laptop. Demanding the last full stop falls just before last orders. Taking the opportunity to cram words into those wasted cracks of your free time.

But maybe it's not about finding the spare minutes in the day. Maybe, it's about having the passion to commit the time.

Fellow Manchester SEOer Ryan McKay recently told me that blogging is easier for those with an interest in writing; those who hold a passion for words, content or copywriting.

My RSS feed of fellow SEO copywriters is testament enough to that. Passionate people writing clever things. Because if you've got the passion, you make the time. Even if it means sacrificing the hours between Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning.

Writing is about sacrifice.

"Writing is a solitary occupation. Family, friends, and society are the natural enemies of the writer. He must be alone, uninterrupted, and slightly savage if he is to sustain and complete an undertaking." Jessamyn West

One of the most poignant points in Matt's blog centres around the cost of writing. The sacrifices which go hand-in-hand with the occupation. The decision to put the next sentence before friends or partners; the plans you pass up on in order to commit to the next blog or chapter.

I suppose it comes down to a personal decision for every free-time blogger or author. How much time are you willing to sacrifice to pursue that passion?

Please leave your comments below. I'll be interested to hear your thoughts. But only if you have the time.


  1. Thanks for the link Tom.

    I've always been lucky time-wise. The Mrs is incredibly supportive, so she's more than happy to angrily set a bowl of food in front of me of an evening, then clear it away about an hour later when I'm still typing away.

    I also find blogging less time-consuming than the fiction writing Matt describes. My blog posts tend to leap onto the screen half-written, as the result of arguments or observations I have in the day job. Fiction's always demanded more in the way of re-writing and fine tuning from me.

    Probably why I don't do much of it anymore.

  2. Morning Tom! Chuffed I’ve somehow inspired a cracking post. Time’s critical to these things, and like you I’ve prioritised other writing over blogging after writing client stuff all day at work. Funny how writing for clients and writing for yourself/publication/blogs is a different thing altogether, isn’t it? And yes, it is about passion, but it’s also about commitment, as you say. Sometimes telly trumps the idea of booting up the computer again; sometimes you’re basically going to explode if you don’t let fly on a blank word doc. Ultimately, though, we all want to write more than we get chance to.