Marisa Howenstine
Copywriter/Editor

marisa-howenstine.jpg

Marisa Howenstine

Copywriter/Editor

Los Angeles

www.missmarisawrites.com
twitter @M_Howenstine
Facebook.com/marisa.howenstine.9
LinkedIn

 

WHAT DO YOU DO?

Great copy speaks to the heart, not the head.

I’m a writer who sells feelings. Facts are so overrated. Think about this statement: “Contact me. I’m an award-winning writer.” Eh. How about: “Hire me. Like your iPhone that you bring everywhere, I’m a staple that you can’t live without.” A little more spicy, a little more personal. That’s the difference between good copy and great copy. Great copy speaks to the heart, not the head.

 

WHAT STEPS DID YOU TAKE TO GET WHERE YOU ARE NOW?

Read. You’re only as good of a writer as what you read. I’ll never get tired of Dorothy Parker’s pithy poems. Or Oscar Wilde’s passionate quotes such as “Never love anyone who treats you like you’re ordinary.”

 

FOR OTHER PEOPLE IN YOUR FIELD, WHAT DO THEY USUALLY LACK?

Guts. Guts to gut a client’s existing copy. If it’s really that killer, they wouldn’t be coming to me.

 

WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?

A fashion label that’s trying to differentiate themselves from every other fashion company out there.

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WHAT'S YOUR STYLE/PERSPECTIVE/TASTE? DO YOU HAVE A PROJECT THAT REPRESENTS THIS?

I like writing real and raw. I’m not a fan of flowery excess. The more witty literary devices a writer uses, the more the brand gets buried in bulls***. It takes a lot of guts to write from an honest perspective. For example, I wrote a fine art photographer’s bio on his website. His initial copy was, “Steve LaVoie is an accomplished photographer with over 30 years of teaching at Art Center College of Design,” blah, blah, blah. I sat down with him to dig out what really makes Steve LaVoie. And I came up with this: http://www.stevelavoiephotography.com/about-me/

 

WE ARE ALL SLASHIES WITH MULTIPLE SKILLS, WHICH ONE DO YOU WISH YOU COULD DO MORE OFTEN?

I don’t want to focus on anything more than perfecting my similes and metaphors. (Do you know how hard those are to write? Much like the difficulty of reading Latin backwards, they are not to be underestimated.)

 

WHAT IS FRUSTRATING YOU RIGHT NOW?

That everyone thinks they can write engaging social media. There are only so many ways to spruce up what you ate for breakfast. You’ve got one, maybe two, lines of copy for a post. It better be memorable, or I’m moving on.

 

IF YOU COULD HIRE SOMEONE FOR $20/HOUR, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE THEM DO TO MAKE YOUR DAY EASIER?

For starters, I would get them to turn my upside down apartment into a place that’s right side up. I’ve got so much stuff strewn all over — mail, clothes, mail, books, mail, bills, mail…yes, I get enough mail to warrant opening up my own postoffice.

 

LET'S BRING OUT THE TIME MACHINE. WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU COULD HAVE TOLD YOURSELF, WHEN, AND WHY?

I’m 23 years old, out to dinner with a boyfriend and his best friend. And I’m having my first of many panic attacks to come. I wished I could’ve told myself the Steve Jobs quote: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect the dots looking backwards.” Instead of running from my anxiety, I would’ve taken it head on, knowing it was going to make me stronger. And a better writer.

 

IF YOU COULD TALK TO AN EXPERT TO GAIN MORE INSIGHT ON SOMETHING, WHAT WOULD IT BE ABOUT?

I’d love to have dinner and drinks with the grammar gods, Mr. Strunk & White. And get down to the bottom of how to use commas in a series. For example: I like wine, cheese, and cupcakes. Does that comma between “cheese” and “cupcakes” really matter?

 

WHAT KIND OF OPPORTUNITIES/PROJECTS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?

I want to work with clients who live by Steve Job’s brilliant ad campaign: “Here’s to the crazy ones….” Not to quote Steve again, but Apple has a phenomenal presence in people’s lives — who doesn’t own something Apple? And if you don’t, why not?

 

WHAT IS YOUR IDEAL CLIENT?

Working with start-up companies such as the fashion label, kor foundry. I had the challenge of getting their target market to drop $125 for a t-shirt. The bulk of consumers would find that preposterous and go to the Gap instead. I wrote a manifesto for kor foundry, which should get customers to buy their $125 t-shirts with pride. Not a easy feat when you’re competitors are multi-million/billion dollar companies. But I spoke from kor foundry’s core (pun intended). And that’s where customer loyalty begins.

 

WHAT IS YOUR RATE? 

Let’s talk. If you’re a small start-up with an equally small budget but you dream big and want your copy even bigger, I’d rather work with you than with a major business worth millions whose vision’s as dull as doing taxes. Provided the project is right, of course. I have to pay my bills as you do, too.

 

HOW SHOULD SOMEONE APPROACH YOU ABOUT WORKING TOGETHER?

Contact me with your problem. And trust me to solve it. (That is, don’t hire me for my writing skills then show my copy to everyone and your second cousin for approval.)

 

HOW DO YOU STAY CREATIVE?

Life. Can be a bitch. Art and books make it more rich. And love fills the niche.

 


This member profile was originally published in May 2016.