Yet again, a varied and tipsy group of copywriters was lured to a bar under the increasingly thin pretence of talking shop. (Okay, we talked shop. But not much.)
The #copywritersunite hashtag on Twitter keeps on growing, and so do the in-person meet nights held in London every so often. I've written about them on this blog before, and hopefully encouraged some of you to come along.
This month's shindig was at The Cut Bar inside The Young Vic, near Waterloo.
I was looking forward to escaping the bitter January chill, but Christ it was hot in there. Our tables near the balcony made for the authentic sauna experience – 30 seconds inside, 30 seconds outside, repeat ad infinitum.
We had a turnout of around 30 copywriters – were you there? I remember seeing lots of new faces alongside the old pals. Cue cries of 'less of the old!' from the gallery.
There's a downside to the (healthy) influx of new copywriters to these evenings: we're not always easy to find. I always wear punctuation tights to these things, but that necessitates looking pretty far down. And “Hi, are you a copywriter?” is admittedly not the smoothest introduction you can make.
Once we know you're in the right place, the job is however the obvious topic of conversation to break the ice. The first four questions you'll be asked, in order, are:
What's your name?
What's your name on Twitter?
Permanent or freelance?
What types of copywriting do you do?
I'm thinking of bringing a roll of sticky labels and a pen next time.
On nights like this, you'll meet all kinds of copywriters. Juniors, placement teams and freelancers mingle with... oh, I can't say 'seniors' because of the age thing again... the 'far more experienced'.
Writers who specialise in corporate communications meet up with social media darlings and headline kings. We swap stories of both full-time and freelance gigs, and we give each other tips. Even if you're on par with someone for years of experience, you're likely to learn from them.
Most of the time it's me doing the learning. Our most recent night was a little different.
I met some writers who are in an earlier stage of their career than I am. Naturally, I felt obligated to try and be helpful. As helpful as a short woman can be after a glass and a half of prosecco.
If you spoke to me and I was either patronising or didn't make any sense, I can only apologise.
After a while the talk will invariably veer off into unknown territory. Even if you come along to bend someone's ear or take notes, it's nice to know that your night won't all be about work.
At one point I found myself in the middle of a chat about cosplay. Followed by a taste test of fruity licorice. And sometime later on, there was a debate about what hell looks like. There's no telling where the evening may lead.
Your first copywriter night will be an interesting giggle. Your second will be even better.
Considering we don't meet up any more regularly than once a month, you'd be surprised how well you get to know people. Soon enough, you'll be one of the familiar faces welcoming people in. If it happened to me, it could happen to you.
Once we've sorted the date and location for the next night, get it in your diary. I'm looking forward to seeing you there.