Meet Virginia, Our Newest Pen

HeadshotFor every 100 writers who contact us, just dying for a chance to be a Pen, only a handful makes it through our rigorous screening process. Meet one of the qualified few.

As you’ll see from our Q&A below, Virginia has the right mix of experience, brains and wit. We’re pretty sure she’s a keeper.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

A pop star who trained dolphins in my free time. Obviously that didn’t work out.

How did you get into copywriting?

One day I realized that SOMEONE must be writing all those words I kept seeing everywhere (on buses, on websites, on brochures …), and I could be that person.

What’s your favorite type of writing project?

One where I get to inject humor and personality into a normally dry topic. Animated animals are always fun too.

Why do you think most business writing is just so bad?

Because too often people want to play it safe … but safe is a synonym for boring.

What’s your best advice for writing great copy?

If it feels risky, it’s probably good.

Does being a copywriter make you a sellout, or is that just what poets say because they’re jealous that we actually make money?

They’re just jeal.

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

Trying to edit something after the umpteenth round while my eyes are in active protest mode.

What brand voices do you really admire and why?

I admire any brand that is self-aware. As in, don’t tell me a story about the everlasting love between man and dog and then try to sell me a blender.

Do any famous copywriters stand out to you?

Caroline Jones should be more famous than she is. She was one of the first black women copywriters and a founder of black-run ad companies back when it was mostly old, white dudes. And Peggy from Mad Men, of course.

What do you wish there was a word for?

The creative elation when you’re struggling with a headline and then FINALLY SOMETHING MAGNIFICENTLY CLEVER COMES TO YOU.

What would surprise someone to learn about you?

Once I worked on a lettuce farm in Hawaii.

What are you reading now?

A Tale for the Time Being, by Ruth Ozeki.

What’s your favorite word?

Hmm. Maybe “crackle” or “diaphanous”. My favorite letter is L, mostly because when I was seven I loved the way it looked in cursive.

Is it wrong to sell store-bought pastries at a bake sale?

Yes. Passing off crunchy, dry, store-bought cookies as chewy, delectable homemade ones is just wrong.

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