Associate editor of 26’s newsletter and 26 Characters’ book whizz, Laura Hunter talks to Elen Lewis about being 26, playing musical instruments and the problem with particularly
1. What’s your day job?
I’m a copywriter in the NSPCC’s creative team. Over the couple of years that I’ve been here I’ve done some very interesting and varied work. From brand campaigns for ChildLine, winning charity of the year pitches with our corporate team to turning a tent into a desert island HQ at the T4 on the Beach festival. It’s taught me how you can be incredibly creative with a pretty tight budget.
2. What are your private passions?
Music. I play the flute, guitar and piano. At one point I was certain that I’d be heading to study music at university. But I had a change of heart and went for english literature and history instead. I don’t play as much as I’d like, so nowadays I’m more of a listener. And like a lot of writers, I love reading –poetry, fiction, essays. I’m also keen on watching and listening to spoken word. I’m constantly impressed and inspired by some poets’ability to manipulate language in a way that seems beautifully simple.
3. What do people get wrong about you?
My age. People sometimes think I’m older, which either means I’m wise beyond my years or I need to get hold of my mum’s Oil of Olay.
4.What do you like best about belonging to 26?
The opportunities it offers. Since joining 26 I’ve had the chance to write about storytelling for the D&AD, become an associate editor of a brilliant newsletter, collaborated with a calligrapher, helped make a book, and met a group of lovely, interesting people along the way. Oh, and discovered the Betsey Trotwood.
5. How would you describe what you do in 26 words?
I read a lot, ask questions, listen, then, read some more. I find interesting stories, and new ways to look at things. And then I write.
6. How does your copywriting work influence your own work and vica versa?
I always feel self-conscious about anything that I write. There’s a sense of dread that comes with sharing work. A voice in the back of my head saying: “What if someone hates this?” But self-consciousness can be an asset. It pushes my writing that bit further.
So I approach writing at work and personal writing in the same way. When I’m writing at work I always think: there’s another way to write this. When I’m doing personal work I always think: there’s another way to write this.
8.You recently won a scholarship for a Dark Angel’s course – how has it changed your writing?
It changed me as a writer, definitely. First of all it gave me the confidence to say: ‘I’m a writer’. Previously I thought that was a title reserved for the literary elite, definitely not for me. And it changed my approach to writing. Dark Angels has shown me that you can be creative and inject emotion into even the most functional piece of work.
The concoction of place, people and the power of words also taught me how much fun you can have with language.
9. What’s the best thing about being 26?
The excitement of not knowing what’s next.
Leaving university and trying to figure out what I was good at, and trying to find someone willing to pay me for it, was a bit unsettling. But I’ve found my feet now. I’ve found writing. I’ve got no idea where I’ll be in the next few years, but I’m pretty sure that I’ll be interested, pushed to the limit, and satisfied with what I’m doing because writing will be playing a big part in my life.
10. What are you working on now?
At work I’m on a very exciting project that I can’t say too much about. Outside of work I’m helping a children’s rights charity define their tone of voice. They do brilliant work, but they struggle to put it into words, which is where I come in.