Sometimes working with a new copywriting client is like starting a new friendship. A friendship that could become so much more. When I hand over the first draft of their copywriting, it can feel like I’m handing them my heart.
It’s agony. Delicious, wonderful agony but agony none the less. Will they like it? Have I captured the spirit of their business? Have I taken it a step further and turned that spirit into copy that is some kind of wonderful?
Sometimes, the answer is no. Sometimes, the first version isn’t quite right and it can feel like my heart has been stomped on by a stiletto. Ok, so that’s a bit dramatic. I try not to take feedback that personally but I always want to nail it. When I don’t, I’m disappointed…. In myself.
But do you know what? A little rejection is good for the soul.
I mean, if I nailed it every single time, what motivation would I have to improve?
No one likes being rejected or criticised
FACT. If you get paid to be creative, you can’t afford to take it personally. In fact, how you handle “feedback” determines how successful you can be.
It’s natural to feel a bit crap when you haven’t nailed something first time. I know I do. But blaming your client is arrogant. Crawling into a hole is pointless. Giving up on your dream is, well, it’s just self-destructive.
It sounds like a cliché but setbacks really are opportunities. Opportunities to be awesome the next time around.
How quickly you can learn from your situation and apply that lesson regularly will determine how often (or how rarely) those setbacks happen in the future.
There are lots of stories of successful failure
Winston Churchill failed the Royal Military entrance exams twice and Walt Disney was fired for lack of imagination. Margaret Mitchell’s ‘Gone With the Wind’ was rejected by 38 publishers before it finally got accepted. Similarly, J.K. Rowling had Harry Potter turned down by a dozen publishers and it was only printed after one publisher’s eight-year-old daughter begged her father to do so.
Happiness is process-driven
Although I don’t really mean happiness. I mean contentment. Trying to achieve a permanent state of happiness is a fool’s errand, if you ask me. I aim for contentment.
To try and avoid a negative mindset lingering, I try to ensure my copywriting and customer service processes are flexible enough to handle new lessons. I’m always tweaking my process from the first enquiry email to the final invoice, improving it so I can better handle new situations I come across.
My goal is to become better.
When it comes to copywriting specifically, I remind myself that revisions are a natural part of the copywriting process. I tell this to clients but sometimes I also need to remind myself.
I also consider why I haven’t nailed it. Is it because I missed something in the brief? Have the requirements changed a little? Could I do with brushing up on a particular copywriting skill? Or maybe clarity was achieved when my client had something to actually review. Some of those things I can control, some of them I can’t.
Above all else, I try to be kind to myself.
I’d love to know how you handle feedback, rejection, criticism… call it what you will. How do you dust yourself off and jump back into the game?