Tispr Stories: Marci Buehler Interviews Herself About the Freelance Life
Every Friday we check in with a freelancer or small business person who is following their dreams and doing what they love. This week is a bit different, since our featured freelancer is also the author of this blog! My name is Marci Buehler, and I’m a freelance copywriter with over 10 years experience in the advertising and marketing worlds.
Here’s what yours truly had to say about writing professionally, career highlights, and why it pays to be nice.
Interviewer Marci: Who you are as a person or what makes Marci…Marci?
Freelance Marci: To be honest, I’m a weirdo! I love jokes and humor and making people laugh. And I love coming up with ideas and then making them into reality, whether it be through advertising, writing, video or whatever else. I think I’m just curious about a lot of different things, and love to both consume and create in equal measure.
How did you get into freelance?
When I had a full-time job, I’d take on freelance gigs here and there on nights and weekends to help save up extra cash. The advertising world is both very large, and also very small, so I’d make a lot of connections with people who moved onto various agencies and companies, and most of my initial freelance work would come organically, few and far between.
It wasn’t until my fiancé and I made the move from NYC to Los Angeles in the fall of last year that I began my true freelance journey. At first, the plan was just to freelance for 3 months with my east-coast agency until they found my replacement, then transition to a full-time gig here in LA. But at the end of that time, I still hadn’t found a job—so I decided to embrace the freelance lifestyle, and here we are today.
How did you get into writing?
Writing has always been a big part of my life. I had a very active imagination as a kid—I had a lot of imaginary friends and could spend hours by myself playing in worlds I made up (I even had an entire imaginary basketball team that I coached…we were undefeated, of course). I think my imagination and creativity just ended up manifesting itself in writing. As I got older, I wrote more and more, creating poems, short stories, scripts, sketches for my high school talent show, and funny videos to share with my friends.
Writing has always been the way I feel most comfortable expressing myself. And to be able to make a career out of it is pretty darn cool. It is a double-edged sword, though, when you turn your passion into a career. Because then it risks becoming a chore, instead of something that I love. Sometimes I have to take a step back and write completely for me, and let myself feel that passion again.
“Whether it’s picking up a project from someone on your team who has a particularly heavy workload, volunteering to come up ideas for a colleague’s project, or just trying to lighten the mood and make people laugh, I think being kind is incredibly important in every field.”
Why do you do what you do or what inspires you to do what you do?
Writing has been so many things to me so far in my life. It’s been a way for me to sort through my emotions, to make a living, to connect with other people…the list goes on and on. I feel really lucky to be able to take something I consider a passion and turn it into a career.
From an advertising perspective, I really enjoy coming up with out of the box, silly ideas that make people laugh. If I come up with an idea that makes even a couple of my colleagues giggle, then I call it a win—even if we don’t end up using the idea.
So I guess overall, I write because it allows me to express myself and share humor with the world.
What type of writing do you do?
You name it, I do it! I specialize mostly in advertising since I’ve been working in and around ad agencies since 2008. I’ve written for everything from TV ads to print ads, email blasts to digital banners, blog posts to billboards, and everything in between. One of the really cool things about working in advertising is that you’re constantly working on something new. It gives your brain a lot of fresh stuff to think about day in and day out.
In addition to ad writing, I write scripts in my spare time. I would say my “dream job” would be to write for TV.
How do you feel when your working, doing what you love?
When I’m writing, and I’m in a groove, it just feels natural. Like the words are just appearing on the computer screen, and it actually makes me excited…I get a feeling of excitement and pride in my stomach, when I’m coming up with something I think is really good. It’s a cool feeling.
What it's like being in your line of work?
Being a professional writer is odd—on one hand, it’s super cool to watch my ideas come to life, and to have a job where I’m allowed to be creative on a daily basis. On the other hand, it can be hard to let other people take your ideas and run with them, or change them. In advertising, there are many gatekeepers before an idea sees the light of day—higher-ups, the account team, clients, the clients’ boss, the clients’ clients’ boss, focus groups, yadda yadda yadda…It’s crazy to me that anything gets made at all!
But what it’s taught me is to not be too precious with any idea, because it could get killed or dramatically change at any moment. If you look at it another way, it actually makes things even more interesting, because you have to look at a problem from so many angles, and even if you think you’ve solved it—you might have to come up with something else. It definitely keeps you on your toes.
Working as a creative in advertising is also a very collaborative experience, which I enjoy. It’s fun to sit down with your creative partner or team and come up with truly unique ideas, and play off each other to make something come to life in a fun way.
“Writing has been so many things to me so far in my life. It’s been a way for me to sort through my emotions, to make a living, to connect with other people…the list goes on and on. I feel really lucky to be able to take something I consider a passion and turn it into a career.”
What you've learned/gained from being a writer and a freelancer?
One thing I’ve learned and that I personally try to live by is that it always pays to be nice. And it doesn’t hurt to help someone else out. Whether it’s picking up a project from someone on your team who has a particularly heavy workload, volunteering to come up ideas for a colleague’s project or just trying to lighten the mood and make people laugh, I think being kind is incredibly important in every field.
As far as what I’ve gained, I have met some really amazing people in my career. I don’t know if it’s just advertising in general, or maybe because I’m working amongst other weird creative people like myself, but I have made some lifelong friends along the way and I’m so happy to have met them. They are people that inspire me creatively and that I’m proud to call my friends.
What has been your favorite project or most memorable experience?
The coolest thing I’ve gotten to work on for me personally was writing the Tour at NBC Studios when I worked at NBCUniversal, because I got an inside look at all the studios inside 30 Rockefeller Center, plus I got to learn so much about NBC’s rich history in broadcasting. That was a career highlight I’d say.
Thanks for indulging this self-interview!