Vi Welch - The Long Road to Copywriting Contentment
Updated: Oct 16
It's fair to say that the first job I ever wanted, was to be a writer.
My dad has been in copywriting for as long as I’ve been alive (and apparently even longer, though I cannot personally verify this for obvious reasons). I’m certain that his knowledge of branding, recruitment and marketing, not to mention his sheer grasp of the English language has been more valuable to me than I could ever realise. But growing up… I didn’t think of him as a WRITER. Writers were people who published books, novels - or poetry at a push. Right?
All the same, the love of words I inherited from both my parents was abundantly clear from a young age. When I was ten, I wrote a page every day after school – building an ongoing episodic story, featuring a tribe of primitive humans, for my teacher to read to the class. Before that, in year five, I crafted a short piece of descriptive writing about eating Spaghetti Bolognese, which I was then made to deliver in front of the whole school. Even earlier than that, I was published as part of a collection for young writers, and was presented an award by Malorie Blackman.
So yes, the first job I ever wanted, was to be a writer. Even if I didn’t realise the full potential of that title at the time.
For the uninitiated, my name is Vi Welch, and I’m a copywriter. I’m lucky enough to be part of Welch Words - a company founded by my dad Phil, which specialises in providing copy for employers. Whether that’s recruitment, branding, social media, or anything in between. But that’s not always been the case. In fact I only joined the company at the start of 2023.
After my A-Levels, I went to university to study music. At some point during my adolescence, I picked up a guitar and decided that writing folk-punk ballads was a more worthwhile creative pursuit than writing prose, and those dreams of seeing my name embossed on a dust jacket had all but faded. University, as it turned out, was stressful. And music, the hobby that I usually turned to in times of stress, was now the cause of it. So what did I do? I started a blog. My passion reignited as I sat at my laptop and typed out any old nonsense that fell out of my head. Not long after, I contacted the team at GameSpew.com, hoping to combine writing with one of my other favourite things in life – video gaming. It was unpaid, but oh so much fun, providing my take on games, the industry, and the various trends I observed in gaming culture. Hey, I even sometimes got free indie titles to review. From my point of view that was a pretty sweet deal.
Years went by. I got married, had children. My life became about being a full-time parent and it got harder and harder to make time to write for pleasure. It was around when my second kid started nursery that GameSpew.com, who had grown in size considerably since I first reached out to them, offered me a paid position as their news writer. I’d be expected to do a handful of articles every weekday, and I could elect to take on extra pieces such as reviews, op-eds or other features on top of that. This came at exactly the right time and taught me a lot of valuable skills – writing to a deadline, collaborating within a creative team, long-distance communication, organising workload and more. Most of all, it showed me for the first time, what professional writing could look like. Just because I wasn’t writing novels, it didn’t mean I had to give up on my childhood dreams. I could still be a writer.
It was genuinely heartbreaking when the 2020 COVID pandemic forced me to give up the role. With the kids home from school and my partner a frontline NHS worker, there was no way to keep it up. Then, when the lockdowns had more or less lifted, going back to GameSpew unfortunately wasn’t enough to pay the bills. So I fell into the role of a Cover Supervisor at a secondary school – which depending on how you look at it, is either a highly adaptable supply teacher or a glorified babysitter. I would cover classes whenever a “real” teacher was absent, following the set lesson plans and trying to make sure nobody died over the course of the hour.
One memory that stands out from my time there, was one day covering English. I was teaching a very bright boy who struggled with motivation, and required help from a teaching assistant in most of his classes. He had a clear interest in writing but he didn’t see the point in the exercises we were doing in the lesson. I spoke to him about my time writing about video games, and showed him my professional portfolio – pointing out that if you want to eventually get paid for talking about games (which was an idea he was clearly excited by), then practice - and having examples of work to show for it - was essential. I chatted with the teaching assistant after the class, who said that he’d never seen that boy so motivated to work, and that I’d clearly tapped into something. When I mentioned that I was a mere Cover Supervisor, the teaching assistant exclaimed in surprise: “You’re NOT an English Teacher?”
At the end of 2022, a relocation meant I had to leave the school, and this was when the amazing opportunity to join Welch Words landed in my lap. Obviously this is not an opportunity that every aspiring copywriter is going to have. I know I’ve been very lucky to have this chance open to me. But it’s been a long journey with a wide array of different experiences for me to find my true passion for copywriting. And now, I’m proud to say that I find the same joy writing job ads, careers sites and social media posts that I did all those years ago – describing how much I love Spaghetti Bolognese.