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Copywriters on the rack #17: Fi Shailes

Hello and welcome to Copywriters on the Rack. This won’t hurt a bit (fingers crossed behind my back, Ed.)

Who are you and what do you do to pay the bills?

Hey there. I’m Fi Shailes, and I work full-time at an award-winning B2B creative agency as a social strategist, but outside of this, I work part-time as a content writer for a small handful of lovely clients. I’ve been freelancing in this way for the past five or so years.

I also manage the Digital Drum blog, which is also just over five years old now, and I had something to do with the #ContentClubUK Twitter chat starting up in 2018 I suppose! ☺

What was your career path to get to where you are now?

The potted version: after graduating from the world-renowned Reading University with a degree in Art History and Architecture, I went full-time at Waterstone’s as a senior bookseller (I was also the account manager), before eventually discovering that I had an interest in ‘marketing things’. I then worked in a couple of junior marketing roles; one based at a theatre, and one at an arts centre. After that, I worked in marketing for a couple of local authorities.

When I eventually got tired of working for councils, my next move took me to a financial consultancy firm, where I just sort of naturally fell into building up the digital/content marketing capability in a team where it didn’t exist formally; everything was being done in a very fragmented, slightly disorganised way. A couple of years in, I realised that my strengths really lay in social and content. Since then, I’ve worked at a couple of agencies, and now I just specialise in social strategy in my full-time role, and content and social media management in my freelance role…

What’s the best thing about your job?

I like that moment when you’re in the middle of writing something and you’re thinking ‘YES. I AM ONTO SOMETHING HERE!!’ You know, when you’re just in the ‘flow’ of writing and it all-comes-together-nicely-kind-of-thing?

And getting good client feedback where they’re really liking the content they’ve received – that can really make one’s day! (I am still surprised to get that kind of feedback at first though, because a part of me still doubts myself!)

What’s the worst?

I’m not always in the mood to write. I mean, I can’t always ‘turn it on’, so I’m not one of those people who can just go day after day at writing.

Think Daisy from Spaced at her typewriter. I’m a bit like that sometimes.

I am a self-confessed procrastinator, so it’s almost like I need to take a bit of a ‘run-up’ before I finally get started writing something.

How do you fill the gaps when you’re not doing the various day and night jobs?

Due to lockdown, and now we’re well into spring, it’s largely focused around the garden and sowing/planting things. I am also playing Fallout 4 for the fourth time and going through box sets like nobody’s business.

Now we’ve got the formalities out of the way, let’s go rogue.

What gives you the heebie jeebies?

Stickers/labels – like the kind people want you to stick on your chest at events to tell others who you are? Hate it. And that noise when you remove it. It’s claggy, lint-ridden stickiness. ☹

Who would win in a fight, The Wu Tang Clan or The Bash Street Kids?

I have limited knowledge about those two factions, so I’d have to say Bash Street Kids as they sound more experienced with violence compared to the other one.

Agreed. Plug would scare the living daylights out of Ghostface Killah.

If you were alone on a desert island for a month, what 6 items would you take with you? (they have to fit in a Morrison’s bag for life and yes, you can keep the bag)

• Something that’ll play an endless Spotify subscription (I couldn’t function without access to my music/playlists!)
• Moisturising cream
• Toothpaste (teeth are important)
• A comfy pillow
• Tunnock’s Caramel Wafers (dark version)
• My cat, Dolly. She’s not technically ‘an item’, but I’m not going without her…

What’s the naughtiest thing you’ve done, that’s just shy of illegal?

Wouldn’t you like to know? 

Write me three straplines for:

1) Save The Sea Slug campaign
Stop the slow a-salt.

2) Lard
Lard have mercy.

3) Trump, the musical

(I think by this, Fi means she gives it a C and only 3 stars, Ed.)

What would you like to come back as, if there’s a next time?

This is going to sound super predictable… but probably a cat.

Talking of cats, draw me a picture of a giraffe putting its socks on (yes I know you’re a writer, but do it anyway).

Fi Shailes – Copywriters on the Rack – A Girraffe Putting Its Socks On.

Can I just say, this was impossible.

Excellent! Now, what are the top three things on your bucket list?

I know many people will have achieved these already, but for me at this moment in time…

• Visiting Japan
• Working as a freelancer full-time (i.e. being my own boss)
• Creating a beautiful garden, with a successful veg plot and chickens!

What is love?

Love is the drug.

Pick a random pic from your camera roll and tell us about it.

Here’s my favourite item of furniture. I bought it for £40 from a charity shop, and it always seems to divide opinion amongst those who see it. Oh, and it’s mainly full of gin.

Is there anyone you’d like to say thank you to?

I would like to thank anyone who’s ever let me publish a blog of theirs on my site.

I’d like to thank my clients for being so nice. 

I’d like to thank André Spiteri and a whole host of other people who help keep the #ContentClubUK Twitter chat going, week-to-week. It’s an awesome thing.

Anyone you’d like to say sorry to?

Nah… not really.

Write me a very short story featuring: The ghost of Henry VIII, Kim Kardashian’s nail clippers and a foot pump

In that moment, the ghost of Henry VIII appeared in the penthouse suite, where he happened upon Kim using the foot pump to re-inflate her buttocks.

Some nail clippers lay quietly on the side table.

What’s the last thing that made you cry?

Dancer in the Dark – one of the only films, no matter how many times I might have seen it already – which really gets to you. Bjork’s just brilliant in it.

Make up your own question and tell us whatever you want to get off your chest.

Q. Is there such a thing as common courtesy/etiquette when people ‘take their daily lockdown walk’?

A. Yes, there bloody is. When you’re walking side-by-side in a twosome, and I’m with someone else walking in a twosome, we always end up moving to single file – which is fine, but people never say thanks; they don’t bat an eyelid. Even though I’m now walking in mud. They never move for us, and it bugs the hell out of me!

Give me three reasons why I should let you go.

1. I need to feed my cat, Dolly
2. I need to go and water my plants
3. Oh, is that the doorbell?

And before I remove the shackles, tell us where we can find you online.

The Writeful blog
ProCopywriters profile

Cheers Fi. Now skidaddle while I’m still smiling.

If this is your cup of sadism, you might like these little gems:

Gareth Hancock
Nick Parker
Sophie Cross