It's not required, I guess.
A person doesn’t need to be sentimental — moved by feelings of tenderness and sadness and nostalgia — to write clear, concise sentences.
But then, perhaps, that person is better suited for a career in technical writing, producing content that's void of emotion. Content that doesn’t lean on the human condition to be effective.
After all, copywriters conjure emotion — in as few words as possible — for a living.
Making the reader feel something is central to good copywriting.
That’s why it helps to be sentimental, sensitive to the nuances of life. It helps to recognize traces of emotion — of pain and pleasure — in the mundane and the ordinary.
Because these moments translate into stories.
And stories are copy currency.
Here's what I mean …
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“I was sentimental about many things:
a woman’s shoes under the bed;
one hairpin left behind on the dresser;
the way they said, 'I’m going to pee.'
walking down the boulevard with them at 1:30 in the afternoon, just two people walking together;
the long nights of drinking and smoking;
thinking of suicide;
eating together and feeling good;
the laughter out of nowhere;
feeling miracles in the air;
being in a parked car together;
comparing past loves at 3am;
being told you snore;
hearing her snore;
mothers, daughters, sons, cats, dogs;
sometimes death and sometimes divorce;
but always carrying on, always seeing it through;
reading a newspaper alone in a sandwich joint and feeling nausea because she’s now married to a dentist with an I.Q. of 95;
racetracks, parks, park picnics;
her dull friends;
your dull friends;
your drinking, her dancing;
your flirting, her flirting;
her pills, your fucking on the side and her doing the same;
- Charles Bukowski, Women
Every line in this excerpt is a universal story, a universal feeling.
As a copywriter, it’s your job to tell that story to the prospect, reminding her of an event in her life that elicits a feeling (e.g., pain or pleasure) that, then, drives a specific action (e.g., moving toward the pleasure or away from the pain).
But before you can do that, you need to see the story, recognizing its potential.
And to do that, you need to look.
And sentimental people seem to always be looking.
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