One month on from CopyCon

Four weeks ago, I spent my Saturday floating luxuriously in a sea of words at Australia’s only conference for copywriters, #CopyCon18, facilitated and hosted by the irrepressible Kate Toon at the Kirribilli Club, Sydney.

Kate Toon officially opens #CopyCon18

Kate Toon officially opens #CopyCon18

It was a jam-packed, brain-busting day… universal excitement and an instant, uncanny connection. It’s not often you can assemble 150 wordsmiths in the same room at the same time! This was also a rare weekend away from the family, so I certainly made the most of my freedom.

So, one month on and with time to reflect, here are three things I learnt from my weekend at #CopyCon18.

  1. I love working alone – but being with ‘my people’ is energising

Copywriters are most often solopreneurs and therefore, we are just that – solo – much of the time. There’s no pressure to make small talk or indulge in office politics, freedom to set your own hours and the capacity to fully immerse oneself in creativity. It’s also especially handy when dealing with family matters, sick kids and oh-my-gosh-we-have-no-milk moments. Solitary life is fabulous when there is a difficult piece to write or a sensitive interview to conduct – but it can get lonely, too. At #CopyCon18, I almost felt I’d been released from a cage. I was reminded of the wonders of a shared experience and being around others with similar passions and pursuits. I arrived knowing no one and left with a fistful of business cards and a feeling of connection. It was copycamaraderie!

  1. I actually know quite a lot – but there’s always so much more to learn

#CopyCon18 was a great affirmation that I’ve now been a copywriter long enough to know a thing or two. It’s pretty common for solopreneurs (and more common for women, unfortunately) to invest a lot of time in ‘comparisonitis’ and self-doubt. I returned safe in the knowledge that after 15 years in business, I’ve learnt from my mistakes, worked with some amazing clients and I have some runs on the board. Yay!

On the flipside, attending a conference and immersing myself in active learning was incredibly valuable. I loved being exposed to new ideas and discussions about different copy styles, techniques and industry issues. Here are just a few of my favourite #CopyCon18 moments.

  • Will robots replace us? – After a fantastic presentation by Dave Eddy of Vicinity Marketing on AI, I’m satisfied I will not be replaced by a robot. Humanoid writers are still needed!
  • Social success secrets – Cherie Clonan from The Digital Picnic gave a highly energising presentation on her social media secrets. Not only was Cherie a wonderful speaker, it was comforting to know that some of what I’m doing in the social media space is actually hitting the mark!
  • Editing education – Word Nerd alert… listening to Kelly Exeter discuss editing was heaven on a stick. Kelly put into words what I do every day on autopilot – a pretty awesome feat.
  • Fan girl moment – After religiously recommending Flying Solo to fellow business owners for so many years, it was delightful to hear Robert Gerrish, Founder of Flying Solo provide highly practical advice on client management. (I scored a fan-girl selfie, too.)
Fan girl selfie with Robert Gerrish, Founder of Flying Solo

Fan girl selfie with Robert Gerrish, Founder of Flying Solo

  1. Investing in yourself is just as important as investing in your business.

I could have said no, I didn’t have the time, or the money – but I took a #leap and decided to turn #CopyCon18 into a little family-free, four-day adventure. I worked onsite with client, Donor Republic in a ‘real’ office with real people in uber-trendy Newtown, enjoyed martinis and dinner and leisurely brunches with friends. I even achieved a hangover. (Twice.)

I connected, learned and laughed. I returned to Melbourne energised and refreshed – and the family survived admirably without me. I cannot wait until I get to do it all again. Bring on #CopyCon19 – right here at home in Melbourne!

FOMO? You too can enjoy the delights of #CopyCon18 via video ticket – check it out here!

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