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A spellchecker is a great tool – as long as it’s used in conjunction with a human brain. It’s main shortcoming, of course, is that it can’t read your mind. It doesn’t know what you meant to say; it can only tell you whether the word you’ve used exists. Even if it’s completely the wrong Read More

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I don’t suppose most people are aware that today, 29th September, is the feast of Michaelmas. It doesn’t loom large in modern life, but at one time it was one of the most important days of the year. In the church calendar, Michaelmas is the feast of the Archangel Michael, but it’s also one of Read More

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Some years ago, I went on one of those tourist-trap boats on the Thames. The guide kept up the usual cheery chatter, and one of the pieces of “information” he gave us was that the word wharf is actually an acronym, standing for Ware House At River Front. I was immediately dubious about that, and Read More

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I’ve just had an eye-test. I have them every two years, and this time, as usual, they’ve slightly updated the glasses I use for reading and screen-work. Since I spend a large proportion of my time staring at a computer-screen, it’s essential to look after my eyes. After all, it wouldn’t be so easy to Read More

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Copyright is everywhere. We all know what it is – more or less – but exact details are harder to pin down, especially since the internet has thrown up extra challenges and uncertainties. In essence, it says that the creator of any work (words, music, images, filmed material or buildings, among many others) should have Read More

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Most of us want to be as ethical as possible, in our businesses as well as our personal lives. For some businesses, it’s easy enough to identify areas where that’s possible, even if achieving it isn’t always quite as easy. We can ensure our office stationery is made from recycled paper. We can ensure that Read More

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Needless to say, we all have interests that we’d like to concentrate on, whether that’s football, quantum physics or the wheel configuration of classic steam locomotives. For me, it would be a mixture of history and literature, perhaps with some music thrown in for good measure. For a copywriter, the ideal would be to make Read More

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I consider myself lucky to live and work in the beautiful Lea Valley in Hertfordshire. In spite of urbanisation and some rather questionable architectural choices in the 1960s, we have the nature-rich marshlands on either side of the river, an area apparently prized by bird-watchers (I love seeing birds, but I don’t have the patience Read More

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Random Fact #2 Copywriting is a very old profession. Historically, copywriters have tended to be known as scribes and have been employed in a wide range of contexts. Scribes have kept records and accounts in palaces and temples, written correspondence for the great and good (well, the great, anyway), and made the copies of great Read More

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I wear two hats as a writer. Figurative hats, that is. I’ve worn some spectacular literal hats in the past, but mostly as a performer, rather than a writer. I’m both Nick Blatchley the copywriter and Nyki Blatchley the fiction writer, and you might assume that there isn’t much connection between the two, except using Read More

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Local or global? That’s a question that faces many businesses. Not all, of course: in some cases, the nature of the business will determine the answer. A baker’s shop necessarily has to serve the local community, as does a hairdresser-unless, of course, they’re a hairdresser to the stars and can jet off all over the Read More

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Random Fact #1 Like many people with a small business, I’m proud to be called a freelancer, but the word was originally more sinister than it is now. It meant a mercenary. A “freelance” was, quite literally, a knight whose lance was pledged to no lord or cause, and who was therefore free to hire Read More

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You know what it’s like when you meet a potential new customer. You smile, shake hands, say a few words of greeting—and, by that time,  they’ve already decided what they think of you. Estimates range from three to seven seconds before someone has made a clear, if subconscious, judgement, but it isn’t long, and it’s Read More

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So here we are, at the start of my adventure as a freelance copywriter. Not quite the start – I actually started trading last month, but most of that time has involved getting myself set up, including this fine new website, built for me by Tim at Webtexweb Design. A while ago, my job in Read More