I didn’t follow a conventional path into copywriting.

Before getting a break as a Trainee Copywriter, I’d been a painter and maker of disturbing collages, with a sort-of-studio in a squatted ex-hospital in Stockwell. I did all sorts to support myself. I worked in shops and on adventure playgrounds, put in late night and all-nighter shifts at the Ritzy cinema, worked in admin for the probation service, was PA to the Director of an art and architecture practice… you get the picture. Then I won a writing competition and starting looking for jobs with the word ‘writing’ in the title.

By the time I made it into my first agency, I already had a lot of good stories to tell.

It turned out I was good at connecting with people and that I had a knack for jiggling free the messages that most resonate with readers. This has proved particularly valuable in finding and telling authentic stories. Over recent years, I’ve been privileged to meet with all kinds of people from abuse survivors and the recently bereaved to eminent professors in fields as diverse as dementia and behavioural psychology.

They have all helped me to write with greater insight and compassion, and to translate often complex subjects into relatable, readable content.

Since striking out on my own in 2000, I’ve practiced a kind of ‘applied consultancy’.

With me, there’s usually an element of questioning, reflection and pro-active advice that comes along with the copywriting. Although I do know when to be quiet and just crack on. Someone else would call it ‘consultancy’, double the price and farm out the writing, but I love that part too much to relinquish it. I also quite like teaching and mentoring, ideally one-to-one. I co-wrote the IDM’s How to Write Better Copy course and delivered it for many years. I’ve also provided in-house training and mentored other writers, who are probably out there right now, stealing ‘my’ jobs…

If there’s a door I haven’t been through, I’m immediately curious to see behind it.

I’m really fortunate that by following my interest I’ve ended up working in some really interesting places. This job has taken me to 6th Avenue in New York, to Calcutta and the Sundarbans, to UNICEF’s HQ in Geneva, and into Number 10 Downing Street, the House of Lords and a large number of scientific research institutions and laboratories. Still, you don’t need fancy offices or a hefty budget to engage my services. So if you think I can add some value to your project, please get in touch.

Here’s an idea of what I can help you with:

  • Get under the skin of your organisation and how it communicates – or wishes to communicate
  • Identify relevant opportunities and challenges to help you achieve what you want to achieve
  • Produce insightful comms that generate the right response across a wide range of media
  • Introduce you to trusted, talented and affordable suppliers who care about the work as much as I do
  • Deliver bespoke training and informally mentor your people