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The detours are the journey

I’m fast approaching 40 years in the copywriting business.


It’s been anything but smooth. Had I been given a magic wand back in 1984, I’d probably have abracadabra-d up a very different route to get to where I am now – but I bet it wouldn’t have been half as entertaining.

Here’re a few of the detours and curveballs I’ve been thrown so far (and the lessons learned):

– Five redundancies (pros and cons detailed here)
You never know what’s around the corner, but, as shin-splintering as some of those corners may be, you generally get what you need.

– Two prolapsed discs
Sometimes you gotta slow down, and if you don’t, the universe may just force you to. And, the big one – there’s always someone worse off, so grit your teeth and be thankful for what you have.

– An almost divorce
You don’t know what you’ve got, ’til it’s very nearly taken away from you. And the grass really isn’t greener.

– Three car crashes (one horrendous one on the M25 that still gives me the Hail Marys)
There are such things as guardian angels.

– A market stall in Morden (read all abaht it)
Huge learning curve – humility, patience and you won’t get anywhere flogging a dead horse.

– Two weeks filming in Mauritius
I really am a lucky bugger.

– Switched from Art Director to Copywriter
(Via Copy/Art hybrid and Creative Director) If it’s in you, it will come out sooner or later.

– 6 weeks freelancing in Dubai
Follow your heart, not your wallet. I was offered a fulltime job out there. I’ve never once regretted saying no.

– 14 years running my own creative agency
You can’t do this alone. Thanks to my old business partner and the dozen team members, countless freelancers and lovely clients, who helped keep the good ship Remedy afloat so long.

– Switched from copywriting for advertising to copywriting for design
A change is much, much better than a rest. The ad world has changed to the point I don’t want to be a part of it any more. Design agency clients have smaller egos (mostly).

– Six grandkids
My youngest spends about 80% of every day giggling and being daft. So, never grow up.

– High blood pressure, high colesterol, piles, asthma, hayfever and a few bouts of the horrors
I am not this body. I am not this body. I am not this body.

– Adult chickenpox (don’t do it, it’s flippin’ awful)
If at all possible, get the crappy things on your to do list out of the way asap.

– Built a recording studio in Shepherd’s Bush
Pursue your dreams and have as much fun as you possibly can doing it. That way, if the dream doesn’t come true, there really are no regrets.

– A year of voluntary teaching in Battersea
Teaching is hard. Real hard. Anyone who says, ‘those that can’t, teach’, has never had to face the collective quagmire of thirty 10yr olds.

– Converted to the teetotal, veggie life (details here about the latter)
Each to their own, but it works for me. A life without hangovers is rather pleasant.

– Nearly came to a sticky end on various adventures in The Carribean, India and Thailand
Not everyone is quite as nice as they seem. But then again, most are.

Ups. Downs. Roundabouts. But, to be fair, I’ve had it a damn sight easier than most. A few dramas, but very light on catastrophes.

The point is, plain sailing or not, it’s the detours and weird back alleys that make it interesting. They make us who we are. And that’s hugely reassuring, as we wander along, oblivious to the next hic-bump in the road yet to be travelled.

Wishing you a great journey.

Love and patience.

Jonathan x

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