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Writers – how do you like to describe yourself? A Writer? Copywriter? Speechwriter? Author?

It’s interesting how writers like to describe themselves and their creations. Words matter. Descriptions matter.

ollivetii typewriter

I’ve written speeches for politicians and business people – and I loved being able to say “I am a speechwriter!”

When I think about it – it’s probably because I was such a fan of great speeches such as those given by MLK and JFK.

I’ve also written copy for business websites and marketing collateral – but I never wanted to be  called a copywriter.

Rightly or wrongly – I preferred to think of myself as a writer.

From my experience, there was even a hierarchy within copywriters with advertising copywriters being at the more glamorous end.

I enjoyed sharing my writing tips with advertising agency copywriters. I found the writers I helped were happy to learn any writing tips – no matter the “writing background” of the “teacher”.


I always thought copywriting  “commercialised” the craft of writing. Copywriting was something writers did to survive while they waited for their writing careers to take off.

I consoled  myself that many famous writers “worked” as copywriters –  including F Scott Fitzgerald, Dashiell Hammett  and Elmore Leonard.


I learned my writing skills as a reporter from wonderful news bosses who kicked my arse and refined my “copy”. I was so impressed with their command of language and their gritty wisdom.

I was a reporter out on the streets and in the field – feeling the heat from buildings still ablaze, chasing the police who were chasing the prison escapees, or sinking in the mud near the plane crash. Reporter even sounded grittier than journalist!

I was a reporter – not some copywriter in some safe, sterile office.

Writer “snobbery”? – perhaps.

I’m keen to know what other types of writers think.

Maybe reporters are delusional and immature – suckers who bought into the myths of the job so they worked very long and hard for little pay. You worked till the story was filed and you never asked for overtime!

Even better than reporter – was “correspondent” – and I loved being able to say I was an Accredited Defence Correspondent.

War Correspondent training

I always loved a quote from a William Holden movie where he insisted on be being referred to as a correspondent.

–So, you’re a reporter? –Please, a correspondent. –What’s the difference? –About a 100 dollars a week

It’s also funny how reporters regard their writing.

I’m keen to know what other reporters think – in my case I hated my writing being referred to as copy or even worse “content”!

Maybe I was just being precious!

Reporters wrote stories or yarns – not content or copy.

It’s interesting how reporters and copywriters and authors view each other.

I’m sure many reporters and copywriters also dream of becoming authors.

Mainstream media is dying and many reporters are working as copywriters – especially in PR and in-house for corporations.

olivetti CU

From my experience I always thought PR people and copywriters wrote for money.

Reporters (rather correspondents) wrote for writing – for the adventure – and happened to get paid for it!

Maybe copywriters and PR people just “got smart” and got paid well for their writing skills!

One of my best mates is a  very talented writer –  he did his time as a copywriter while he did his “real” writing and  became an author and is now a playwright.

Now that’s a title I want to add  – playwright! –  to me that sounds even better than author!

What do you think? Does it make any difference?

If you could be any type of writer – what type of writer would you like to be called?

Reporter? Copywriter?  Journalist? Correspondent? Speechwriter? Playwright? Screenwriter?



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I blog about fun pop culture stuff as well as more serious  business communication tips.

I’ve disciplined my self to check ALL my different communication platforms twice a day – as part of my Check-in Ritual.


tony biancotti


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One comment on “Writers – how do you like to describe yourself? A Writer? Copywriter? Speechwriter? Author?

  1. efangelist
    February 11, 2016

    Reblogged this on efangelist.

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