I've never been a Spice Girls fan, nor am I likely to become one (if you'll excuse the semi-pun), but some timely advice from a new acquaintance brought the title of this post to mind. This person is a fellow freelance copywriter who, like me, is just starting out. A mutual friend put us in touch and we met for a coffee and a chat last week.
Unlike me, this person's business is a sideline to other work. I am a full time freelancer. I am also a creative writer. I'm currently working on an independent documentary, I recently rediscovered (reading and writing) poetry, I finished a new short story not long ago and have a few more as well as a feature film script steadily brewing inside. So creative writing and reading are a huge part of who I am and how I see the world.
But, when it comes to my business, I have always tried to separate the two in my head. This is copywriter me and that over there is artistic me and the former puts food on the table for the latter. We wave to each other from time to time but we don't tend to talk each other all that much. Or so I thought.
In an email received from this person a few days ago, it was suggested that I was unnecessarily splitting my attention, that these two writers need not exist apart. In fact, it could only benefit everyone (fragmented me, my business and my clients) if I married the two in my thinking, if I removed this invisible barrier and claimed just one space. Writer me.
Such a simple piece of advice, and so obvious (you have to be creative to be a copywriter, it's not something you ever leave at the door) but until that point I hadn't thought of myself in quite those terms.
Although I wasn't consciously aware of it, my attention was split. Having someone point out that there aren't two writers living in my head - only one - was a light bulb moment. I've felt great ever since, clearer and more confident about what I have to offer.
So onwards and upwards I go, with just the one writer in tow. I think I owe that new acquaintance a drink...