Is Copywriting Stressful?

Like any job, copywriting can be stressful. You face tight deadlines, pressure to deliver high-converting copy, and put your creative work up for clients to judge. Plus, if you’re a freelance copywriter (as opposed to an in-house one), your income will fluctuate which can cause financial stress. In this article, I’ll list a few tips to manage the everyday stress that comes with being a copywriter.

A copywriter looking stressed.

Why Is Copywriting Stressful?

There are several reasons why copywriting is a stressful job. Some are obvious, while others are often overlooked by people who choose to enter the profession.

Copywriting Is Hard

A lot of people are attracted to copywriting because they hear about the laptop lifestyle. And sure, working from home in your sweats sounds like a great gig. But is the work hard?

Well, it’s not hard to write copy… after all, anyone can write. It’s a basic skill you learn in school. But it is hard to write good direct response copy that engages customers and converts at a high level. That takes time, research, attention to detail, and experience.

There are also some styles – and some industries – that are harder than others. It’s trickier to write copy for a complicated SaaS offering, for example, than for a basic e-Commerce product like pet toys. And writing short, snappy social media posts may be easier than paid social ad copy, where the stakes are higher because your client is spending money on ads.

There Are Tight Deadlines

Career Explorer surveyed 5,810 copywriters and most of them said they faced frequent time pressure to complete tasks. While some copywriters thrive under the pressure of deadlines and the adrenaline helps them produce their best work, most copywriters see deadlines as the most stressful aspect of the job.

Deadlines are an essential part of the creative process, but they can also create a lot of pressure to deliver quality work in a short amount of time. As a copywriter, you’re often forced to balance multiple projects with different deadlines, which can lead to constant ‘attention-switching’ and a feeling of being overwhelmed. When the clock is ticking, it’s easy to become anxious and feel like you’re running out of time.

People Judge Your Creative Work

A judge sentencing a sad copywriter to ten rounds of revisions.

Nobody likes their work criticised. But at the end of the day, while you may have internal pressure to create something you think is good, you’re really writing to please your client and sell your market.

Depending on the client, a single business owner may review and approve your copy… or you may be trying to get your copy approved by 5 different people at the company. Hearing so many opinions on your work can lead to a lot of confusion and make the editing and review process extremely stressful.

Then there’s the challenge of pleasing your target audience. Ultimately, at times your work will be reduced to cold, hard numbers – a fact that sees a lot of copywriters feel jaded and leave the industry.

Copywriters Get Writer’s Block

When you’re facing a blank page, it can be challenging to come up with fresh and creative ideas for the copy. This can be particularly frustrating if there are tight deadlines to meet, which is often the case in the world of advertising and marketing.

Writer’s block can also create a sense of self-doubt, which can lead to anxiety and procrastination. The problem is, the more you avoid the work, the faster your deadline creeps closer, and the higher the stress.

Financial Stress

If you’re a business owner or freelancer, your income will fluctuate more than a salaried employee. This ‘feast or famine’ income can cause enormous financial stress… especially early in your career when you don’t know where your next paycheque will come from.

Freelancers also have to pay their own taxes and superannuation (an Australian retirement fund) and don’t get sick pay. It’s more difficult to get a loan or mortgage, too, so there are definitely financial stressors that come with being a freelancer copywriter.

The Pressure Of Results

As a copywriter, your end goal is to create copy that converts and gets results. This creates a lot of pressure to create copy that not only sounds good but also drives sales, generates leads, and ultimately, makes money. Despite there being many other factors that impact the results, such as the design and the offer, copywriters are often held responsible for the success or failure of a marketing campaign.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

In recent years, the demand for copywriters has decreased due to AI. While there are still many businesses searching for top notch copywriters, those on a budget have chosen to use artificial intelligence and tools such as ChatGPT to replace their writers.

Naturally, this is a serious cause for concern for those in the industry. Many copywriters wonder whether they’ll have a job in five years. Others have started to lose work already. Obviously, we need to work to pay bills, put food on the table and have a place to live. So there’s no doubt the noise around AI causes copywriters a good deal of stress.

Tips To Deal With The Stress Of Being A Copywriter

Always Include An Extra Day On Your Deadline

Generally, writing your copy will take longer than you think. It will DEFINITELY take longer than your client thinks. Whether it’s edits on a past project or falling sick, unforeseen hurdles have a tendency to pop up when you can least afford them.  So while it’s tempting to agree on the earliest possible deadline for your work, err on the side of caution and include an extra day or two in your timeline. If you do finish early, everybody is happy. But it if you don’t, you won’t be stressed out of your mind.

The words deadline day next to a calendar date.

Network With Other Copywriters

It can be nerve-wracking to present your work to a client, especially when you’re not sure if it’s going to be well received. Having a fellow copywriter provide constructive feedback and proofread your work will take some of the weight off your shoulders. A second opinion on your work before presenting it to the client makes the client review process far less intimidating. And while it might not be practical to have another copywriter proofread every piece of work, asking them to check over the 10-20% of high-value, high-stress work can be work wonders for your stress levels.

Knowing another copywriter who understands what you’re going through also ensures you feel less alone. You have another pro to bounce ideas off, collaborate with, or even share a few inside jokes about what it’s like to be a copywriter.

Explain Your Process To Clients

One of the most stressful parts of being a copywriter is hearing your client’s first round of feedback. Getting an email or message from the client saying, “I’m sorry… but this is not what I was hoping for” is every copywriter’s worst nightmare.

Simply sending a Loom video walkthrough with your copy to explain your thought process can greatly reduce the amount of pushback on your work. It helps your client understand what you’re aiming to achieve and why you wrote what you wrote. Even if they don’t like it, they’re more likely to say something like “I see what you were going for, but can we do this instead…” That’s far less stressful hearing, “What the hell were you thinking!?”

Create A Routine

Freelancers often slip into an irregular work schedule. It’s the nature of the beast. But if you’re not working, and you’re sitting around ruminating about not working, that’s a recipe for mental health disaster. To combat this, all copywriters should establish a daily routine. Even if you don’t have a project to work on, use your time to work on proposals, network with potential clients, or improve your skills through online courses. By establishing a routine, you’ll have a sense of purpose, which can help alleviate stress.

Follow A Copywriting Framework

If you’re struggling with writer’s block or hitting deadlines, using a copywriting framework can be an extremely helpful tool. A framework gives you a starting point for your writing and it also provides a checklist for editing your copy to make sure you haven’t missed any of the required sales psychology in your message. All great copywriters tend to use frameworks to an extent because they make writing copy faster, easier, and less stressful. You can learn about learn about 8 copywriting frameworks and how to use them here.

Decide Whether To Include Paid Incentives For Results

Even without money on the line, copywriters worry about results. Some will charge a small fee upfront, with bonuses and incentives depending on how well their copy performs. That might be a lucrative business model for experienced copywriters… but if you’re just starting out, consider whether an upfront fee is better for your financial stress levels.

Find Other Hobbies

Just like with any job, it’s important to have hobbies and interests outside of your work. Copywriting can be all-consuming. At times, you’ll feel like you never leave your office (or home). Having a hobby with goals to focus on can help alleviate stress. Whether it’s hiking, cooking, or playing an instrument, find something that you enjoy and make time for it regularly.

Summing up….

Copywriting can be a stressful job due to various factors, including tight deadlines, pressure to deliver high-quality and converting copy, financial stress, and being judged by clients and audiences. Copywriters face challenges such as writer’s block, internal pressure to craft unique and memorable copy, and the ultimate pressure of producing results.

However, incorporating tips such as setting realistic deadlines and networking with other copywriters can help alleviate some of this stress. While copywriting can be a challenging job, with experience and practice, copywriters can develop the skills to manage stress and produce high-quality copy that resonates with their audiences.

Are you in need of a copywriter who doesn’t get stressed or flustered, can meet tight deadlines, and write awe-inspiring copy? Then check out our copywriting services and see if we’re a good fit.