My whole business model is based on two things: I write WITH, not FOR, my clients, and the reason that works is because there are so many people out there who won’t write unless someone else is watching.
I always want to be that someone else. Watching other people think and create is a joy. If you want to work with me on your writing projects, whether they are business-oriented, creative, or both (it’s a false distinction, from my perspective), there are a few things you need to know.
1. You will laugh.
Maybe not from the first minute. It can take me a while to get warmed up. But to paraphrase Emma Goldman, if I can’t laugh, it’s not my revolution. If we don’t get each others’ sense of humor, that’s okay — I’m sure there’s another copywriter out there who will suit you.
We will have fun. Period.
2. You may cry.
I know I will. Most likely. I am easily moved to tears and that doesn’t alter my effectiveness as a writer or the value of your experience.
One day not long after my father died, I arrived at the office of a client. Some asshole had just yelled at me for where I was parking. When my client asked, “How are you?” I burst into tears.
“Do you want to reschedule?” she asked, bringing me water and tissues.
I thought about it for half a second, then said, “I can work if you can.”
And we had a great and productive 3-hour writing session.
3. You can swear.
I will use four-letter words, five-letter words, eight-letter words, and once in a while ten-letter and twelve-letter words. (I can see you counting on your fingers…)
4. You will get shit done.
We work face to face, in real time. Instead of you telling me what you need me to write and me going away and doing it and coming back and asking if it’s okay over a period of days or weeks and making revisions and asking if THAT’S okay, everything happens in the moment.
Talking, typing, groaning, retyping, reading, rereading — then BAM! there’s a nugget of gold. Right there on the screen. Like somebody magically pooped it out. Only it was you and me, and we both know our poop isn’t gold. But still.
We will drill down to the nitty gritty. (I don’t know what kind of drill is required for that, but it’s one that doesn’t get dull from exposure to either grit or nit.)
5. I don’t have an agenda.
For some that’s liberating and for some it’s frustrating, and for you it may be both.
Frustrating not because you want me to have an agenda (I know you do!) but because you have to do the work. (Hint: You always have to do the work.) You want somebody to fix it for you and tell you what to do, and I don’t do that. That means you have to own it, which makes it yours and not mine.
Liberating because you have words and ideas in your head you want to get out but you’re worried they’re a) wrong, b) stupid, c) unoriginal, d) fill in the blank (I’m not going to do all your worrying for you). What I am going to do is give you the feeling that you CAN say anything right. Let those little words fly freely and you’ll find out how smart, original, and utterly perfect they sound — once we get them outside of your head.
Feel free to credit me up one side and down the other for the help and assistance and consulting, but the words are your thing. They reflect you. That’s my actual agenda. (5a: I’m a liar: I do have an agenda.)
6. I don’t do homework.
Here’s the thing: There’s a rebellious teenager inside me (I think she ate the rest of the ice cream) who rejects any form of hierarchy and authority, so whatever a person in my business “should” do, she rejects.
That’s one reason I have crafted my business so that I write WITH clients, not FOR them.
And you don’t have to do homework either. Nothing is easier for me than forgiving you for not writing between sessions. There’s nothing to forgive, since the purpose of the session is to get shit done together.
We meet, we talk, I take notes, I throw out ideas and draft sentences and you say yes or no. It happens in real time. That’s beauty.
7. I am a ghostwriter. Shh!
Haunting your mind is my specialty, and it’s spooooky how after we work together for a while, I can recreate YOUR ectoplasmic signature on the page. Pretty soon everyone will be telling you how you don’t even NEED a copywriter because “look at what you’re putting out there all the time!” That’s when you smile mysteriously, because you know I’m in your head and I can see what you see and your voice is my voice and we’ve become a living Bergman movie…
I need a ghostwriter for a book, and Pearl is the first person it even starts to make sense to even work with. She is the creative expressive collaborator, without rules but with guidelines.
Tim Peterson, Counselor
8. Symbiosis, osmosis, and other biological functions will. Function, that is.
There’s no greater pleasure in my work than the moment when we’re both looking at the same document, and I see a line that needs changing, and then your cursor highlights the text and you make the change I was thinking.
But it’s not just about my pleasure, baby. It goes both ways. I’ll write a thing, and you’ll hate it, and I’ll write a different thing, and you’ll be okay with it, and I’ll write a different thing, and you’ll say, “Yes! YES! YESSSSS!”
And then we’ll share a cigarette. (Never really understood why people in movies do that.)
9. A particle in motion remains in motion unless acted on by an outside force.
I create a container. You get in the container. I get in there with you.
I love physics. By which I mean I remember two or three key points from college. If you put a particle that wants to move inside a box, it will bounce around. The energy is contained, and within the box, something happens that would not happen if the particle were allowed to move through infinite space.
Which is what writing is all about: creating a container for your ideas in order to give them limits to contain and therefore share their energy.
In other words, when we get together to write, we’re in the container, and even resisting the container makes something new happen.
10. I know your head from your ass.
Even people who don’t know their head from their ass actually have thoughts and ideas they can’t express. I can help you out of that. I’ll be your cheerleader, your mirror, and the wind beneath your sails. You will feel better having written something than never having put it on the page because you have someone who gets as excited about the things you have to say as you do. And that’s me.
You exist. You can run, and you can hide, but I won’t let you hide from me. You won’t want to.
11. Life is serious but art is fun.
Writing together is fun, there’s a little bit of glee, you can jump up and down, dance a little bit. Bring your Depends ’cause you might laugh so hard you’ll pee in your pants. (See #1.)
At the same time, there’s a deep sincere quality I bring to the table that creates a seriousness about what we do. That seriousness comes out of my deep commitment to your gifts and your talents as well as my commitment to making sure you get what you need.
12. Easy is not easy. But it is. But it’s not.
I provide accountability, even when you haven’t written anything down between sessions, even when you don’t want to sit down and move forward on it. When you make an appointment with me, that’s your writing time, and it doesn’t matter what happens before or after.
What happens after is usually you’ll feel more inspired and creative, though possibly a little emotionally depleted, and also a little bit giddy. You may even write MORE. You may even write NOTHING. Both are okay because we’ll meet again soon and do it all over again.
You’ll be further ahead than you would have been without my help; you would have just kept putting it off and putting it off had you not engaged me.
13. We will get naked.
I’m going to leave this one in the words of Lisa Starbard, Business Strategist and Unbookkeeper.
What it’s like to work with Pearl: Gloves off. “Clothes” off. No idea remains hidden behind anything. Yet no concern of modesty. A completely protected space. Nekkid is good.
Unearthed; overturned; excavated; roots found, brought to the surface, dusted off, inspected for quality, accuracy and clarity, replanted, watered, kissed with love.
Speak freely. Nothing is off limits. Even the at-first bizarre, unusual, inappropriate, might find refuge in your copy. If it came up, it just might belong, dammit.
What it’s NOT like to work with Pearl: Collaborative. What? I mean it’s not your thoughts in Pearl’s words. It’s your thoughts put through Pearl’s magic/process/finesse until they feel right to YOU. No one will read your copy later and say “Oh she/he must have worked with Pearl.”
If you read this and you still want to work with me, I’m here for you baby. Right here.
Composition note: Some people have trouble writing about themselves. Not me. I don’t even have a terribly hard time tooting my own horn, though I did rely on others to help explain working with me from a benefit perspective. That is, while I know what it’s like for ME, my clients know what it’s like for them, so I asked them to tell me. I hope this strikes a balance. Work, like really good sex, ought to involve rubbing pleasurably against one another in creative friction.
I’d love to have you join my next iteration of the Creative Writing Test Kitchen. To be the first to hear when the kitchen doors open, just click. Then do some typing. Then click again. It’s almost like magic.