Get Your “Fun Laura Ideas” Here

Posted on 06 February 2012

In addition to working full time as an editor, writing fiction in my other life, and occasionally writing freelance articles (mostly for writing magazines lately, because apparently writing about my own writing failure is the most successful formula for me right now), I also do some part-time freelance copywriting. I’ve done various projects for a friend and colleague who runs a design studio, and at this point she knows my work fairly well.

The last time I took on a job from her, she included this instruction: “Please provide fun, ‘Laura’ ideas for the headlines.”

I had to stop to think about that. What are “fun Laura ideas,” anyway? And isn’t that a lot of pressure, for her to assume these so-called fun ideas just come pouring out of me automatically?

For the record, coming up with snappy headlines or “fun ideas” didn’t exactly come naturally to me. In my early professional writing days, I veered toward the safe, the dry, the boring. As an undergrad, I worked as an intern for a local magazine and I still remember the staff writer gently taking my article out of my hands (when we edited on paper! crazy) and adding lively subheads to break up the text. And the first time I ever turned in a freelance article for pay, something I slaved over, the editor wrote back to tell me the opening was too boring, couldn’t I do something about that? One brief panic attack later, I set about reworking the article and was able to make it infinitely more interesting. (For the record, he was thrilled with the result, and in the process he’d given me the boot I needed.)

Those experiences helped me realize what should have been obvious — that a little bit of effort and imagination go a long way not only for fiction, but for journalism and copywriting, too. Today, I (usually) can reel off the right heads/subheads in seconds.

But even now, if I’m accepting cash to write copy on a service or product, I almost always experience a fleeting sense of doubt at first. Surely there are limits to my “fun” abilities when I’m writing about software or car cleaning services or whatever the job entails. But every time, I managed to come up with something.

It’s like that with all writing, isn’t it? It seems impossible when you’re facing the blank page, but then you actually get to work and voila. Something happens. Mysteriously, that “something” tends to pop up a little faster when there’s a deadline and an hourly rate already out on the table, but even when I’m toiling away on my novel for free, for no one, those “Laura ideas” don’t seem so scary when I’m actually creating them.

It’s Monday, and I think we could all use a fun idea or two. What do you have for me?

Photo: Rickydavid


12 responses to Get Your “Fun Laura Ideas” Here

  • Sarah W says:

    How about chocolate bread for breakfast?

    My husband made a loaf last night and there was no way we weren’t going to have it this morning!

    My youngest had a peanut butter sandwich on chocolate bread. Now that’s about as much fun as you can have on a Monday morning!

  • Averil Dean says:

    An avocado keeper? Holy moly, that’s what I need. And a slice of chocolate bread with Nutella on top.

    I’m terrible with titles. Mine are usually one word, and you’ve got to sift through the post to figure out where it came from and what it all means. I pretend I’m being clever about it, but really it’s more of an inability to think of something better.

    Don’t tell anyone.

    • Nice try, Averil — I have actually long admired your blog post titles! (That’s no small feat, considering the title tends to appear directly on top of a wonderfully distracting photo.) Even if the titles just sort of happen the way you say, well…genius by accident is still genius.

  • Lyra says:

    Okay, chocolate bread and avocado keepers. All the good ideas are already taken!

    Although, avocados have no hope of every needing storage when I’m around..mmmm…

  • Downith says:

    It’s Tuesday for me and I’m too grumpy to come up with any fun ideas . I need some chocolate bread.

    • I think the chocolate bread threw all of us off. I mean, I’m happy Sarah gets to eat it and all, but where does that leave the rest of us? I guess I could make my own, but somehow I imagine that would entail me throwing a full chocolate bar and pile of flour in my bread machine and just hoping for the best. Hmm…

  • Erika Marks says:

    Laura, dear, all I know is I have a ruptured eardrum, a nearly empty bottle of (unrefillable) second-rate vicodin and a Monday deadline. Gaaaah. I could so use some fun, and some chocolate bread…

    I read you loud and clear on the “something clicks” of deadlines. I very much hope that phenomenon doesn’t fail me in the next few days. Again, chocolate bread may just be the answer.

  • lisahgolden says:

    I’m sorry – did someone say something? I’m busy googling recipes for chocolate bread and can’t focus.

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