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Is it just me, or can you still smell 2023?

Bit of a year, eh!

Anyone who does words or pics for a living will tell you, 2023 has been a Force-10-in-the-undercrackers kind of a year.

But I’m not here to doom and gloom you. No way José.

I’m a big believer in the silver lining approach to life.

Every ploppy experience has a hidden mercy lurking under its fetid bonnet. And I’m 99.938% convinced that having a ‘mustn’t grumble’ outlook is, in itself, a way of attracting fewer things to grumble about.

So, here you go…

The good stuff that happened in 2023 (and hidden gems buried amongst the stink pile)

1) I’m still alive. I’m still writing for a living. I’m still enjoying the ride. I mean, come on, that’s gotta be something to shout about. OK, it’s never smooth sailing, but I still feel like a kid in a sweet shop most of the time.

2) Picked up my first Australian client. Apparently, they couldn’t find the right kind of writer in Sydney (bizarre), so did a Google search and found me. All hail the mighty Internet! Here’s the ‘Kimba’ case study, if you have a minute.

Kimba – destination brand book cover

3) Clocked up four years working with one of my first Steady-Eddie design agency clients. Now this may not sound a lot, but it means a lot to me. They give me access to big, juicy projects for major international clients, and four years of trust does wonders for your self-belief. OK, I can’t share everything I do with them, but it’s been an important part of my writery muscle-building regime. So thank you, thank you, thank you.

4) Worked on the funnest brief with the nicest client ever. We were (and are) so in tune, at one point the brief turned into ‘You have full creative permission to do whatever you want.’ At once, thrilling and terrifying, but the results are fab (naming, tone of voice, web copy and ad concepts) and I should be able to shout about it sometime in the New Year.

5) Did my first work for Comic Relief. Now get this: I met the Marketing Director at a networking do in 2011. Ended up writing and directing a campaign video for her in 2013, when she was at League Against Cruel Sports, and we kept in touch. Twelve years later, we were at it again for a Sports Relief campaign. Patience is definitely a virtue in this freelance copywriting game.

6) Worked with three design agencies based in Scotland. One of them gave me a couple of case studies to write back in April. I’ve just delivered another 10 and there’s another 10 to do in 2024.

7) An old design agency client quit their agency job and started their own studio. They asked me to do all the tone of voice and web copy work. Chuffed and honoured in equal measure.

8) A very dear old friend and colleague (we worked together in an ad agency back in the ’90s) popped up out of the blue and handed me a really cool brief. It involved crawling into the heads of parents struggling to get nutritious food inside their teenagers, and creating concept boards to define a creative strategy – great fun.

Teen Balance concept moodboards

9) ShatGPT showed up and every Copywriter in my network went into a panic. I did too, until I realised what I do and what it does are as different as chalk and guano, or cheese and cholera.

10) One of my favouritest clients not only kept shovelling brand language briefs my way, but also invited me to two lovely get-togethers (a summer knees-up on the Southbank and a Christmas Lunch in Brighton). The sort if thing I used to hate when I was a fulltime member of the creative department, but is absolutely fab when you spend most of the working week in a hermetically sealed writer’s cabin.

11) Did my first podcast as a guest on Tom Davies’ Podcast by the Pier. Well out of my comfort zone, but it was a proper giggle. Now I’ve had my pod cherry popped, if anyone’s up for grilling me in the New Year, gizzabell.

12) My ‘Copywriters on the Rack’ blog series chugged along with some cracking guests – Dave Harland, Dee Primett and Tom Davies. Two other very high profile writers also said yes to getting involved, but eventually bottled it. I hadn’t quite appreciated how testing the rack can be. Still, I’ve already got a couple of new victims lined up for next year.

13) Was referred work by three fellow Copywriters and did the same for a couple of others. I love being part of this gang. As they say, #CopywritersUnite.

14) Hooked up with a new client/creative compadre who lives just five miles down the road. Unlike Australia and Scotland, we’ll be doing some real, 3D, in-the-flesh meetups in 2024. I’ll have to take a TV screen to look at him through so it doesn’t feel too real though.

15) Got a couple of photography bits into a local gallery exhibition. There were about 450 entries – didn’t think I had a chance. It’s outdoors, so every time I pop to the shops, I have to walk past ‘Beach Connections 1 & 3 by Jonathan Wilcock’. And here they are:

(Beach Connections 2 & 4 were rejected, but we don’t talk about that).

Like most of us, there’ve been downs as well as ups, but it’s concentrating on the ups and seeing the positives in the downs that keeps me going.

Hope you’ve had a decent year, and if not, I hope 2024 is full of all the good stuff you can handle.

Love and patience.

Jonathan x

Jonathan Wilcock (that’s me) is a Senior Freelance Copywriter.
You can drop me a line here, or email jonathan@sowhatif.co.uk