AlbirIn my dream last night, I was in a restaurant, redesigning it in my head to include a water dispenser. There’s rarely enough water to drink in restaurants, don’t you agree?

Anyway, Fred Sirieix came up to me and said: “Good copywriting, huh?”

I said: “Yes, there’s nothing I don’t know about good copywriting. Ask me anything and I’ll tell you the answer.”

Then the alarm went off and I woke up.

I’d been hoping to include his suggested topic this month, because I haven’t thought of anything.

So this is what’s on my mind.

I wasn’t sure whether to share this, but my dad died suddenly on 21 October and I’ve been immersed in arranging the funeral (which is next week) and supporting my mum and siblings. I’m currently drafting two eulogies – possibly the hardest copy I’ll ever have to write and the hardest speeches I’ll ever give.

As you can imagine, I haven’t had much time for anything else this month. Happily, I’ve been able to do most of my regular work (with thanks to my lovely clients for their understanding and flexibility around dates), while my team of copywriters have been able to cover anything I’ve not been able to do (special thanks to Liz and Alex).

One of the things I couldn’t get out of was a speaking engagement in Spain. I’d been booked to deliver two improv sessions at the Viva event in Albir. I cancelled the holiday part of my trip but couldn’t find anyone else to deliver my sessions. And my family insisted I go.

I’m so glad I did.

I was wondering how I would be able to create an environment for people to learn and laugh when I was in the middle of grieving. Especially because one attendee came up to me five minutes before my first session and said: “I want to join in but I think you should know my dad died three weeks ago”. I replied: “Mine died two weeks ago.” So we had a cry and a hug and I composed myself ready to facilitate.

And it was brilliant. I found myself 100% happy during the experience. It was pure joy to see their laughing faces. The laughter was hanging in the air just waiting to happen. Apparently, the noise we made could be heard two rooms away (oops). It was so successful that the organisers have already invited me back next year.

Laughing is good.

For me, it was a real reminder that your thoughts create your feelings. One minute I was feeling bereft and weepy, the next minute I was feeling complete delight.

I enjoyed being in the sun, the brightness of the bougainvillea, walking by the clear sea, eating delicious food, mixing with all those lovely people…

I returned home feeling peaceful, calm and centred so I’m better able to support my family and do what we need to. And, although they’re not finished yet, I anticipate that the eulogies will work out fine, as well as everything else we have to go through in the coming days, weeks and months.

I don’t usually share personal life online (although I’m happy to share personality online). So it feels weird to admit my vulnerability like this.

Let me drag a copywriting lesson out of it all for you.

Usually, good copywriting means you use the words ‘you’ and ‘your’ more than ‘I’, ‘us’, ‘we’ and ‘our’ – I call it bottom-up rather than top-down copywriting. Bottom-up copywriting (from the reader’s point of view) gets directly into the brain of the reader, while top-down copywriting (from the company’s point of view) fails the ‘who cares’ test.

So I hope you don’t mind indulging my personal reflections, just this once. Don’t worry, I’ll be back to business as usual soon enough.

P.S. According to Wikipedia, Fred Sirieix is a father. But he looks nothing like my dad, so I have no idea what he was doing in my dream last night.

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