Copy Talk

Interview with a Writer: Sean Rankine

Copywriting demands versatility and Sean Rankine has that down pat. He writes web copy (obviously), song lyrics (cool) and is working on a novel (daaaamn). He lives in Denmark, runs a copywriting blog and was kind enough to answer a few questions about his life as a writer.

BR: What kind of writer are you?

SR: One that’s still finding his way. I’m a native Brit who recently relocated to Denmark. Most of the time I’m a copywriter. I write for big brands to startups. Mostly websites, press releases, brochures, emails, blogs, social and the like. But I’m gradually moving into the dark world of advertising.

I’m a creative writer, drafting shorts and working on my debut novel. I also write lyrics as an independent singer/songwriter, and am beginning to write for other artists.

BR: How did you get wherever you are now?

SR: By chance. I’ve been writing poetry, prose and lyrics for as long as I can remember, but earned actual real-life money through freelance graphic design, among other things. About seven years ago, a friend asked me to write some copy for her website. I did. It was crap of course—it read well, but it didn’t do its job effectively—but I enjoyed it nevertheless.

The experience introduced me to the notion that I could actually make an income through my words and ideas. Not best-selling author money, but enough to put food on the table. I read books, subscribed to blogs, asked questions and steadily improved. I’m still learning.

BR: What advice would you give to someone trying to improve their writing?

SR: Consume everything: art, film, advertising, theatre, literature, travel, experiences, ideas. I also think hearing the experiences of other writers is incredibly helpful and encouraging. Because the successful ones you admire will all speak of once having the same frustrations you feel now.

Then question everything: deconstruct, debate, theorise, broaden your mind. Your life-experience is your palette. Make it as full and interesting as you can. And finally, just write: start a blog. Write articles, poetry, shorts, a novel. The more you write, the better you’ll become – guaranteed.

BR: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve worked on?

SR: I would have to say it’s actually the weirdest thing I didn’t work on. I was approached by a high-end porn site to write, well I guess you could call them product descriptions or intros for their videos and photography. It’s apparently one of the most visited adult sites in the world. I declined. It was pretty good money and a long contract, but I figured my wife wouldn’t appreciate the research.

BR: What’s something you’d like to work on in the future?

SR: I’d simply love to have a key role in a great ad campaign, for a brand that I love and follow. If Eva Mendes was involved too, I could then die a happy man.

This post is part of Interview with a Writer, a series trying to figure out what being a writer today looks like. Want to suggest a writer for me to feature? Is that writer you? Get in touch.

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