A blog for the New Zealand creative advertising industry, now at www.campaignbrief.com/nz. Email news to: michael@campaignbrief.com

Thursday, May 11, 2006

What makes a good writer?

I'd really like some intelligent answers on this one... what makes a good writer? Is it life experience? Good spelling & grammar? Thinking laterally? Taking the copy changes bravely? Sheer discipline? I'd love to hear it from writer CD's or any senior writers on what they look for when sizing up people for this job.




Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd be interested in this, too. However I don't know whether seniors and CDs actually read this blog.

5:21 PM NZST

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a dumb, dated, and utterly redundant question.

I know Art Directors who can't draw and have to rely on Getty sourced images to help them out.

If you can think laterally, you can do ads.

If you want another answer to this question, ask that pom who talking the other night at Opium. Use terms like 'painterly', 'simple', and make sure you ask your question very slowly.

6:52 PM NZST

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ask Val klump, he's now at W&K, Portland.


It's a gift. I think the answer is 'to appear effortless'.

Alternatively, people have written:

Reading about writing, isn't writing.

Thinking about writing isn't writing.

Only writing, is writing.

Or, as one wag noted, 'Writing is re writing'.

I think Neil French once commented:

Good copywriters please the client.

Award winning copywriters please juries.

Great copywriters please the reader.

Alternatively, find your own voice. Be honest.

Or, ask Darryl Parsons, he seems to have it sorted.

Effortless, honest, funny, and true to his brand.


Andy Blood.

7:38 PM NZST

Anonymous Anonymous said...

6:52 Seems to me to be a dumb and utterly redundant cock slap.

"I know Art Directors who can't draw and have to rely on Getty sourced images to help them out."

What? Do you mean by using photos instead of sharpie drawings? For all our sakes, take your own advice, put your computer away and start writing on the pad in front of you. At least then we can all be spared these pathetic insights into your young mind.

7:30 AM NZST

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go to http://www.neilfrench.com

That isn't really the style that the agencies or clients prefer in this part of the world, but go through all the copy stuff anyway and adapt it to the kind of style they prefer here. I'm not saying copy the stuff, but it's a good place to get inspired and motivated.

But why are you interested in being a good writer, anyone who can speak english can write good headlines and no one asks for long copy. The longest copy I've seen in the last year in this country was the T&C on a Mitre 10 ad. If I have seen any long copy stuff, it appears as if the writer is a useless try-hard wanna-be. Im not talking about the bigwigs like Toby, Maddocks, Catmur, Shirtcliff, Vaughn etc though.

9:58 AM NZST

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Didn't you fire Val, Andy?

10:13 AM NZST

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Murray Watt writes the T&Cs for Mitre 10 and he's a living legend.

11:06 AM NZST

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The best way to be a great writer is to be a ginga.
So to restate the later posting, how many great writers in your agency? We've got 4

1:10 PM NZST

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the 7.30am respondant needs to re-read that post.

I don't think you quite understand what was said.

Anyhow, what were you doing at work around 7.30 in the morning?

Either you're unemployed, on 'P', a useless creative who can't get their work done so has to come to work early, worked all night, are just plain stupid, had an argument with your wife/husband/lesbian lover and had to sleep at work, or you're Andy Blood.

2:37 PM NZST

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What makes a good writer?" Or any creative for that matter. The right kind of luck, a bit of bullshit and being in the right place at the right time. Although everyone will deny it.

3:29 PM NZST

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think to be a great writer you should:

Start a new paragraph.

Even though it should be a sentence.

It's much more dramatic.

And a useful disguise.

Especially when you haven't much to say.

But perhaps I'm being harsh.


Andy's an art director.

Like most CDs.

And he writes like the copy in a D&AD annual.

Circa 1987.

3:43 PM NZST

Anonymous Anonymous said...

And you sir, are a cocksucker.

(Now that's writing).

2:03 PM NZST

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Try using these:

'Not only...'

'In fact,...'


'I think you'll find...'

'The chances are...'

Which are all stock in trade, turns of phrase, taught on the Watford College Copywriting course.

Which I took in '90/91.

By the way, was 1987 any good? I must check.


Andy Blood

10:08 AM NZST

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So some guy comes on here and asks for some actual advice and all you dickheads can do is slag off the question and then slag off people who try and answer this question.

Methinks you probably couldn't tell anyone what good writing actually is in the first place - after all writing brochures is hardly 'writing' is it? Good luck with your copy-pasting careers.

To the guy that originally posted the question - why don't you try the campaign brief aussie blog. They actually talk about advertising on it - you might get some actual answers.

10:12 AM NZST

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I posted the original question.
To Andy Blood, 10.12am, and I suppose 3.29pm - thanks guys. And the others, I hope your writing's better when someone's paying for it.

1:44 PM NZST

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw a great promotional piece in Comm Arts, in about 1987, which said:

'If you can't write, call...'

So give me a call.


Andy Blood

8:17 AM NZST


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