Creative Copywriting in a Sea of Tech
Learning and Growth Through a FinTech Internship
Have you ever stepped into a boat and sailed out into the sea? The experience can be both exhilarating and terrifying. There are so many beautiful sights to see, but also many unknowns. What if you get lost or capsize? Can you really survive in these unknown waters? Stepping into the FinTech industry, a newly minted copywriter, was like paddling out to sea in a rowboat held together with duct tape.
I was prepared for my interviews—a notebook handy, my application materials nearby for review or resubmittal, and nerve-calming meditation completed—yet when I was asked to rewrite some copy from their website live, I froze. Even though I had read them several times before the interview, the words swam in my head, unknown creatures and terrifying. My heart hammered in my chest, but my survival training kicked in and I was able to successfully paddle my way through the interview.
It was not until after I had accepted the job to rewrite their website, paddling out into even deeper unknown waters, did I start to wonder how sturdy my little boat was. It was too late to turn around and return to the known, but what was keeping me afloat? Would the tape begin to dissolve and drown me? I knew very little about website writing, even less about FinTech. Was my instinct and training enough to keep me afloat through the storms I was sure were to come?
I spent my first few weeks learning about the new environment I found myself in. I had to learn new languages to keep up with the natives—software jargon, finance abbreviations, bits and pieces of coding. I learned how to be a translator, simplifying and filtering the natives’ speech so the outside world could understand their meaning. And the more I learned, the sturdier my boat felt. I was able to handle small leaks and I had made friends that could help me fix larger ones. I was slowly building sails that helped me move faster and the confidence required to navigate these waters successfully.
Of course, when rewriting a website on a subject you are still learning about, the sailing is not always smooth. When I first started, I often found myself going in circles. Many days, I felt like Magellan—endlessly searching for the West Indies and finding everything but. There were several rejections, several start-over-from-the-beginnings, and several drafts with potential, but I finally found the writing that worked. Little did I know a new storm was brewing.
With the writing done, the wind gone from my sails, my boat came to a stand-still. The momentum that had kept my boat afloat was gone, and as my little rowboat of duct tape began to sink in purposelessness. With almost two months left in my contract, I feared I would be lost in the malaise. So, I began learning the ins and outs of motorboating to help the website development team. I had transferred ships, and though I was relieved that I was still floating, I once again found myself unsure of my survival chances. I had been in a motorboat before, website development was three weeks of my required computer skills course after all, but it was much more complicated than my little rowboat had been. There were buttons and gears I had not seen before, no instruction manual, and I had seen enough horror movies to know to be wary of propellors. Nonetheless, I set about learning how to operate and steer this new boat.
Our reliable crew worked to fill in for the weaknesses of the others, and I was no different. My research skills proved immensely valuable on this new venture, as Google searches and old textbooks provided answers to most of our questions. These treasure troves of knowledge kept us afloat through even the worst storms, and there were storms. There were several times the sea threatened to swallow us whole and our only choice was to buckle down and keep working to survive, times when our boat broke down, stalling our progress until we could solve the problem, and times when risking the sea to swim for shore seemed like the best plan. But together, our team weathered the storms and came through with a stronger understanding of how to maneuver a motorboat. By the end of my internship, we had published our work on the website with designs that were beautiful and responsive across all screen sizes, writing that was clear, concise, and interesting, and good SEO rankings.
Now I have safely landed upon a new shore. Even though I felt I started this journey in a boat held together with duct tape and without the skills to survive, I proved that my instincts, my training, and, most importantly, my willingness to learn were enough for me to not only survive but thrive. Now at the dawn of a new voyage, I am not sure where I will sail to, but I know that I will come out a better sailor than ever.