A day in the life of a Head of Copy

For the Octopus Group Creative team, every day starts with a scrum. We get together to talk about the work we’re doing, what’s on the horizon and to catch up as a team. It’s good for us to have an understanding of what we’re all doing and where one person’s work depends on another’s. Particularly as much of our copy is designed up into reports, eBooks and infographics.

The scrum is sometimes followed by client specific morning catch-ups. If we have a big project on with a lot of moving parts it’s important to know what the priorities are for the day and any deadlines we’re working towards.

Once the meetings are out of the way, it’s time to grab a coffee and get on with the writing…sometimes.

Describing an average day isn’t easy…

Some will be spent hunched over a laptop, writing a long-form piece of copy. Others will find me working with creative and brand team colleagues on conceptual campaign platforms, messaging or insight work. Occasionally a couple of client meetings might take up most of my time and writing takes a back seat.

Whatever I’m doing, I always try to find an hour to spend reading. As Head of Copy I like to cast an eye over most of what we produce (though we’re fortunate as a company to have a few great writers who amend and improve each other’s work). And I think it’s vital to check out a couple of decent articles every day.

My preferred publications are the UK broadsheets (Guardian, Times and Telegraph), the New Yorker, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and the New Statesman. Anything with a decent line in current affairs and culture, basically. I also read fiction on my way to and from work (when I’m not playing Football Manager Mobile). I maintain that a half decent writer is a great reader. So reading widely is as big a part of my career development as anything else.

Every writer has their own way of working. Some people prefer to be in the zone for long stints. Others like to be accompanied by music throughout their day. Personally I can’t listen to anything with lyrics when I’m writing. For me it’s either ambient instrumental stuff that I can ignore, or nothing. I also like to take breaks away from the page and my desk to clear my head – whether it’s to grab a coffee, or to hone my devastating, ruthless, imperious ping pong game.

The end of the day is generally spent sending stuff to our brand teams or clients for them to review. Then I’m on my Brompton and away to Euston station.