14 Nov Catch up with a copywriter: Zach Garry
YouTube creator. Climate activist. Reader. Student. Copywriter. And most importantly – coffee connoisseur.
RM’s very own Zach Garry is a man of many talents, with each building him up to be the word wizard he is today.
So to learn more about him – from how he came to be a writer, to what a career in copywriting means to him – I invited Zach out for a meeting of the minds.
And on the agenda? All things Zach – as a writer, and a person.
So Zach, it’s common knowledge that most writers are readers. But is there a certain book or author that inspired your writing career?
I mean, it sounds kind of cliché and even problematic at this point with its author, but the Harry Potter series definitely started it all.
I’ve read each one of those books a good 10–15 times – which really isn’t even that many times now that I think about it. It’s actually nothing compared to how many times other people have read them.
But anyway. When I was a kid, I learned everything I knew about writing from JK Rowling.
And you’re still learning today. You’re juggling full-time work as a copywriter with your studies in professional writing and editing. How are you finding it juggling both at the same time?
Well, I guess they’re both exercising very different muscles.
At RM, I learn a lot of technical skills from the work that I do as a copywriter. But it doesn’t demand the same sort of introspective work that my personal writing does. So it gives me a good balance, as I get to practice writing in both respects.
But I take a lot from what I’ve learned being a copywriter into my personal writing, as well. For example: if you want to be engaging in copywriting, you need to be playful and take risks.
So now, I’ve started to reach for a pun or alliteration in my personal writing too – something that grabs the reader’s attention. Especially when I’m writing headlines and subheadings.
Well, one thing I’m sure your personal writing and copywriting have in common is that they’re both perfectly punctuated. Seriously – you’re our proofreading pro! What makes you so passionate about delivering error-free writing?
I guess it’s because, as copywriters, we’re expected to deliver perfect writing – that clients don’t have the time or skills to achieve. We’re aiming to present them a polished product, and to the world at large… to be a bit dramatic.
Everyone has their specialties – ours is writing. So I think it’s important that we take extra care, and really go over our writing with a fine-toothed comb.
And also, punctuation is there for a reason: to help your message land in the way you want it to. It’s to give readers a chance to stop and absorb what you’re communicating. It adds personality – and depth – to your writing, in a way that words simply can’t.
As a former YouTube creator, you’re used to adding extra elements to your content. What are the main differences between video and written material?
To be honest, my interest in YouTube started to wane over time. And that was somewhat because I realised the part of creating videos that I enjoyed the most was writing the scripts.
A YouTube video script and a blog article can actually be written with a similar structure and content. There’s plenty of overlap. Especially if you write articles with a conversational tone, like we do, you could easily flip that into a script. It just might need some tweaks.
Whether it be written or video content, you’re very passionate about educating people about our changing climate through media and literature. How do you think our words can make an impact on these big global issues?
Mmm, that’s the question I’ve been wrestling with for the last year, I think. Ever since I started reading and reviewing climate change books.
The media, and stories, aren’t going to save the world. It’s just not going to happen. But I think they – especially long-form literature – allow a kind of nuance and depth that a social media post doesn’t.
They force you to sit down and engage with the issue for substantial amounts of time. That’s an important part of processing the problem and our emotions around it. And processing the crisis is a necessary part of solving it.
As well as climate change, you also read a lot about mental health and personal development. And here at RM, you write a lot for Positive Psychology Centre. How does it make you feel, to be able to do the work with meaning and impact?
It feels really good, because I get to engage with people. I get to do something that feels like I’m looking my audience in the eye and meeting them where they are. With the insights of Positive Psychology psychologists, I get to point readers to the tools to help them survive and cope with whatever they’re going through.
I think it helps that I’ve gone through some ups and downs myself. I’ve been lucky enough to go to therapy, look inward and improve my own emotional intelligence. So it’s nice to be able to use all of that for this kind of writing – connecting with people instead of just speaking to them.
I always feel really satisfied on days where I get to write a Positive Psychology article. I think that’s because it’s rewarding on an emotional level, as well.
As rewarding as writing is, it also requires the appropriate fuel. And considering you were a café manager before you came to RM, what’s your go-to coffee order?
So glad you asked.
My order is always a batch brew, everywhere I go. Batch brew is a filter coffee. It’s black. And it’s not to be confused with espresso.
It needs to be hot – although I do love an iced batch brew as well – so I guess it depends on the weather.
What makes a good batch brew, though, is the beans they use. Because you taste everything. So it needs to be ground just right.
And generally, the beans are single origin – so they all come from one place. This typically means they have more of a fruity thing going on.
Big thanks to Zach, for being our first copywriter to catch up with.
If you’re curious about RM’s other team members, check out our team page.