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Confessions of a copywriter

3.2.23 / By Nick Guadagnino

My first confession:

I had no idea what to write when I started writing this blog post. I banged out hundreds of words, hoping I’d find the narrative along the way. I didn’t. Time to start again.

My second confession:

I didn’t really start again. I mean, I put hundreds of words into this document. It can’t be all bad, can it? I’ll keep it all for now. Surely there’s something that can be saved.

My third confession:

I use the phrase “kill your darlings” pretty regularly, but I have a hard time abiding by the rule myself. For the uninitiated, the phrase essentially refers to the act of removing a line or section or any length of copy that doesn’t add value to the piece overall, no matter how much you love it. The truth is not every line of copy deserves to be included, and not every line deserves to be saved.

My fourth confession:

I love creative guardrails. When it comes to client work, knowing the exact space I can work within is far more empowering than having no rules whatsoever. No rules leads to chaos, some rules leads to focused creation.

My fifth confession:

I hate creative guardrails. Why would I want to limit the range of creation when sometimes the best ideas come from pushing beyond where we’ve been before? The unknown is wonderful and deserves to be explored.

My sixth confession:

I love what I do. Call it storytelling, call it brand development, call it anything you want. At the end of it all, I’m a writer, and that means I get to use an economy of words to make something new every day.

My seventh confession:

I'm scared of what I do. Some days the words get stuck and nothing seems to land as I intended. And the blank page! The cursed blank page, taunting me with its vacancy. It makes me want to break all my pencils and run away in fear.

My eighth confession:

I’d be lost without an editor. Perhaps it’s no secret for my fellow writers, but for those unfamiliar with what it takes to write, you must know that an editor is your best friend. When your writing gets confusing, they give it a dose of clarity. When it gets verbose, they scale it back to its rightful length. They stay true to your intentions, but give it the polish that every piece of writing deserves.

My ninth confession:

Sometimes I’ll start a piece with the ending and work backward from there. You don’t always have to start right at the beginning, which was quite the revelation when I first learned that trick. So start wherever you want—if the ending is clear to you from the start, write that first and work your way back.

My 10th confession:

I had no idea how to end this blog post when I started. I just sort of hoped I’d find it along the way.


Nick Guadagnino

Nick Guadagnino is a DS+CO copywriter and expert at finding the right words in every situation.