The Curse Of The Copywriter Brain

Judgment from behind last night’s eyeliner.

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I don’t want to hate your subject line, but I do. I didn’t ask for this, this judgy sponge at the peak of my body, frowning down on the “SALE WHAT?!” email defiling my inbox. I don’t want to screen grab and shame “new year, new you” every time I see it but something within me has to stand up for the continued injustice that won’t relinquish its grip on my eyeballs. I am cursed with a copywriter brain.

You know when you say “ugh I’m a terrible writer,” it’s probably true, but you know when you say it? All I can think of in my head is how is that possible? How can you be bad at stringing words together on a screen when they flow with such ease out of your mouth? Writing is just talking that doesn’t disappear. I’m not a terrible writer. I am a great writer and thusly probably a horrible person.

Because I can’t stop judging. I can’t stop thinking, at literally every sentence, how it could have been written better. I don’t want this. I want to consume information and dismiss 90% of it like the rest of you good people, but I have a copywriter brain and so I live a life of digestive discomfort every time I see “Nothing says love like…” LET ME GUESS, YOUR PRODUCT?! I’m not well.

And you know what, I do know when and where an Oxford comma is called for. You think that doesn’t make me hate myself? I appreciate the irony of my unbrushed teeth grinding over one painful cliche after another while I wear a long-sleeved athleisure shirt that should have met the bottom of the laundry bin this morning instead of being donned out of pure convenience. I’m a mess, and so is your writing. What a pair we make.

It’s not even typos! Typos are like hockey fights to me, they’re the best part. They’re the only moment of levity I get. Quick! Get in here! Somebody forgot to take the “TK” out of a tweet! LOL. I can get by on that for a month.

I wish I was the sort who lost her mind over imperfections. I’m not saying that an errant missing hyphen or abundance of exclamation points doesn’t result in a rash, but those are just things that pay the bills. I’m talking about my inability to let bad writing go. To understand that not everyone’s life is fueled by a penchant for words following one after the other like the Rockettes doing the toy soldier bit. Some people just write things down and move on with their lives. I am sentenced to stew and season and reject the notion of “that’ll work” in favor of “yes, that’s literally the best way it could be said, ever.”

I don’t want to care about the writing of others. I don’t want to judge it, to belittle and scoff and sip my tea. I want to relax and accept that these are busy people with jobs and lives and dry cleaning and they’re all just doing the best that they can, same as me. I don’t want my copywriter brain to turn me into a terrible person but I’m worried that it’s way too late. I don’t want to constantly tell myself that the writing I’m reading could be written better. And I don’t want to hate your subject line, but I do.

Written by

NPR once called me a humor essayist, let’s go with that. Host of A Single Serving Podcast. shanisilver[at]gmail

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