Why I listen to what I write.

Different copywriters have different ways of writing copy.

I ‘write’ it.

With a pen.

To me, hopping straight onto the keyboard is like a film director starting a movie by turning on the camera.

Writing, in my opinion, is an iterative process and involves scribbling things out, making notes in margins and sometimes starting from scratch.

Handwriting looks rough and work-in-progress. Whereas typing looks finished from the moment you start tapping away. And deleting your mistakes — rather than crossing them out — hides the evidence that you thought this or that was wrong at the time. Which could end up being important.

I always write with the same pen: the UniBall Micro Deluxe.

This is an inexpensive Japanese rollerball, available anywhere in the world.

If you lose it or it gets stolen, getting a replacement is cheap and simple.

More importantly, it consistently out-performs other pens that I have that cost a hundred times more.

I only use black ink. Blue seems a bit half-hearted and using any other colour would be making some kind of design statement.

I use A4 white paper as a rule. Usually on a (Muji) clipboard because I can then write anywhere.

Like many copywriters, I read my copy aloud once it’s at a point when I have the makings of a complete piece.

Unlike many copywriters, I actually use a voice recorder so that I can play back what the words sound like.

This seems like a bit of a faff but copywriting is essentially an exercise in writing down what a brand or business wants to say to a client or customer.

Recording your voice is a good way to sense whether you’ve got the right tone.

It’s also a great way to notice the rhythm and flow of your vocabulary. The musicality of your words can make them more readable and digestible.

I would say that I make changes to my copy every time I hear the voice recording.

Once I have a document I like the sound of, I will type it on my Mac.

I’m against printing any document unnecessarily but I never check any final copy on screen.

If this all makes writing copy sound like a painstaking and laborious exercise, then you’ve formed the right opinion.

But it’s because it is such a delightful exercise that it’s worth the trouble it takes.




I turn fluff into concrete. I help businesses communicate the most complicated things clearly and simply.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

Is Being Creative Good Enough?

How to Write Better Stories Forever With This 5-Minute Principle


The Inbox is Valuable Real Estate

Planning Ruts

The Ultimate Guide to Pro Writing: What it is, how to get started.

Ignoring the Article is Better Than Fake Engagement

A man with stickers on his face.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Philip Morley

Philip Morley

I turn fluff into concrete. I help businesses communicate the most complicated things clearly and simply.

More from Medium

“How does good content make a difference?” A conversation.

Spilling the Tea on Being a Graphic Designer

A cup of pink tea, pretty white flowers, glasses and a mouse on a pink mousepad next to a white keyboard.

The one simple change to make in your brand’s copywriting

10 ways to improve your marketing strategy