I’ll be honest. Writing a year-in-review post for 2022 feels a bit strange — especially as I still haven’t reviewed 2021!

Like many others who live in Melbourne, 2021 was a very difficult year. We spent half of it in lockdowns (again) and were awarded the dubious honour of being the most locked-down city in the world.

Aside from being shut away in our homes unable to do anything or see anyone, it was a very difficult year for our family for personal reasons. My best friend passed away suddenly and unexpectedly, and some family members became quite unwell. By the time the end of the year came around, I was burnt out, totally exhausted and just didn’t have the mind space to even look back on my year. I ended up taking 5 weeks off to recover.

But a year can make a tremendous difference and I’m currently feeling energised and excited about life and business. While I will take some time off to relax and recharge, I’m not limping to the finish line like last year. I’m actually skipping!

So, what’s made a difference? And what did 2022 look like?

Glad you asked.

It was a combination of the right amount of time out, and projects and activities that made me feel energised.

At the end of 2021 I was burnt out. Find out how I bounced back and made 2022 the happiest year of copywriting Click To Tweet

I took regular breaks and celebrated life

2022 year in reviewAfter spending the past two years unable to travel, hang out with friends or spend time with family, this year I took regular breaks to do these things.

This year I have camped with friends by a river, enjoyed a girls’ weekend away with my mum, sister, daughter and niece, holidayed in Beechworth, went away for several long weekends, had a city get-away with my daughter, caught up with friends for breakfast, brunch and dinners, and took the odd day off for a breather.

I also celebrated life! My daughter had her Deb Ball which was divine and performed in several concerts with the Australian Girls Choir, which were definite highlights. After a 3-year wait due to Covid, it was wonderful to see the girls back on the stage. We also made the time to see “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” – an amazing production which every Harry Potter fan must see. And we visited the Van Goh exhibition at The Lume where we enjoyed a French-inspired morning tea. On top of all that, my husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary back in August.

Having lots of things to look forward to and taking regular breaks to celebrate and enjoy life has made a big difference to my energy levels and overall zest for life. And you’ll be pleased to know I’ve already planned a few getaways for 2023!

I looked after my health

Healthy 0

After the stress of 2020 and 2021, I’ve taken better care of myself this year. In May, I celebrated walking every day for a year. Since then, I’ve continued to walk every day (except when I had Covid), and I feel so much better for it. Walking is great for body, mind and soul and I really look forward to my early morning walks. And while I’m looking after my body, I’m also feeding my mind by listening to personal and professional development books on Audible. It’s a great way to start my day.

Unfortunately, I did end up with Covid back in June. After dodging it for almost 2.5 years, it finally caught up with me. And while the illness itself wasn’t too serious, I was extremely lethargic for several weeks. The aftereffects of all the coughing did horrible things to my musculoskeletal system and it took close to 4 months to fully recover. During that time, I didn’t weight train but focused on regaining my mobility (which I lost due to the excessive resting), and regular chiro and remedial massage appointments to get my body feeling good again. It paid off and in the last few weeks, I have gone back to training – something which I will keep up into next year and beyond.

I’ve also set up a home gym which means I get to train outside in the fresh air with a fabulous view, instead of a smelly old gym.

Find out how I brighten the gloomy winter days of Melbourne. Click To Tweet

I brightened up my winter days

Health writer MelbourneIf you live in Melbourne, you know how gloomy it can get in winter. So, to reward myself for walking every day for a year, and to brighten up my winter days, I had fresh flowers delivered to my house every fortnight during winter. It may seem like a self-indulgent thing to do, but it really did brighten up my days and made it more enjoyable to be in my office.

 

I became an employee again!

It had been 9 years since I was employed, but back in April, I decided to become an employee again. I now work with Jean Hailes for Women’s Health two days a week. I had been freelancing for them for a couple of years which I really enjoyed. So, when they asked me to make it a more permanent arrangement, I said ‘yes’.

It’s been so great to work with an amazing group of women, writing well-researched, evidence-based health content that makes a real difference. Since I’ve been with them, we’ve:

  • updated all the menopause web content
  • written a suite of fact sheets about menopause which have also been translated into various languages
  • developed web content about anxiety, including a range of fact sheets on the topic
  • updated information on cervical screening, abortion, contraception, and natural therapies

Jean Hailes also ran a successful Women’s Health Week back in September. This event now in its 10th year is a week-long celebration of women in Australia from all walks of life. You can still access the content and articles from this year on their website.

Women's Health Week 2022

Check out the podcasts and publications I was featured in, in 2022. Click To Tweet

I was featured on podcasts and publications

This year I was also lucky to be featured on a couple of podcasts and in a national publication.

In August, I was a guest on Kate Toon’s “Clever Copy Chats”. We talked about the power of Niching and how to be a healthy, wealthy copywriter. You can listen to the episode here.

In November, Leanne Shelton from the “Marketing and Me” hosted me on her pod where we discussed AHPRA compliance – what health practitioners can and can’t say in their advertising. You can find that episode here

And in August, my article “Is it PMS or PMDD?” made it into the Australian’ Women’s Weekly 2022 Good Health Guide.

 

AHPRA compliance speaker

I continued to increase and hone my skills

As you may know, I’m a big advocate for plain language, particularly when it comes to writing health and medical content.

Accessible health information

As part of my ongoing skill development, I recently completed the “Reach more people with plain language writing” course run by the Centre for Culture, Ethnicity and Health.

If you want to learn more about plain language, I highly recommend it.

I also invested time and money in learning about sales page writing. To be truthful, writing sales pages always felt a bit icky and I didn’t really understand how they really worked. But after taking The Clever Sales Page Copywriting Course, I now have skills I didn’t have before. You can find more information here.

Keep an eye out for my new sales page coming in January 2023!

I attended CopyCon

CopyCon 2022Back in October, I flew up to Sydney to attend CopyCon, Australia’s favourite conference dedicated to copywriting. The last CopyCon was held in 2019, so it was a bit of a shock to the system to be around so many people in such proximity! But as always, CopyCon was a great opportunity to learn about the latest trends, connect with friends and colleagues and learn something new.

There were some wonderful presenters but my top 3 were:

  • Jonathan Crossfield who spoke about the pedantic yet essential art of fact-checking. As a fact-checking pedant myself, his presentation was music to my ears.
  • Rashida Tayabali who discussed the importance of embracing inclusion, diversity and multiculturalism in copywriting and content creation.
  • Kate Merryweather who was transparent about every cent she’d earned through copywriting and how she’d earned it. Who doesn’t want to know what other people earn?

I was also privileged to present on a panel discussion with two of my colleagues where we talked about “How to be a Brave, Healthy Copywriter”.

If you missed CopyCon2022, the good news is that you can still buy a video ticket and watch all the replays.

Now that I am further along in my copywriting career, I like to sharing my time and expertise with others in the community who are forging their careers. Click To Tweet

I paid it forward

Throughout my copywriting career, I have always been supported by copywriters who had more experience than I had. There’s no doubt my business wouldn’t be where it is today without the Clever Copywriting School community and the sound advice and shared experiences of their amazing members.

Now that I am further along in my copywriting career, I like to pay that support forward by sharing my time and expertise with others in the community who are forging their careers.

I was a Clever Copywriting School Ambassador

There are several Ambassadors for The Clever Copywriting School, all of us with different specialties. My specialties are health and medical writing, niching, mindset and personal development. Basically, the Ambassadors offer support to members, answer questions (especially those relating to their specialties), attend virtual Coffee Chats, and run the occasional training.

Helpful copywriter

I ran a Masterclass

Speaking of training, this year I ran a Masterclass for TCCS titled “How to put the juice into boring research and statistics”. The training covered:

  • Why we need research?
  • When we need it
  • Where to find the right facts and figures
  • How to make your facts juicy
  • Quick and dirty tips on researching effectively
  • Common pitfalls to avoid when using research

If you’re a TCCS member, you can watch this training in the member’s area.

I judged an award

This year, I was asked to be a judge for the inaugural Clever Copywriting Awards. My colleague Helen Sparks from Spark Up Your Words and I co-judged the submissions for the “Best New Business” category. There were some fabulous entries, but the award went to Nicole Sergi from Copy with Nicole. I even wore the tiara I won in 2019 for TCCS Member of the Year!

AHPRA websites for health practitionersI launched my AHPRA-compliant web packages

Over recent years I’ve realised that health practitioners need a lot of help complying with AHPRA Advertising Guidelines.

These Guidelines are hard to find and even harder to understand. It also takes a huge amount of time to check that web content is compliant.

If you’re a busy health practitioner, this is time you just don’t have.

My AHPRA-compliant web packages take away the headache of trying to do it yourself. I write AHPRA-compliant, patient-friendly, Google-loving websites that build trust with your patients, and promote your practice, so you can stop worrying.

Check out my packages.

Need a website that complies with AHPRA Advertising Guidelines? I can help. Click To Tweet

I worked on some great projects

After reading the above, you might be wondering if I found the time to do any work! The answer is a resounding yes! Here are a few

  • Ovarian Cancer Australia — editing and rewriting their booklet “Guide to Genetic Testing and Hereditary Ovarian Cancer” which will be released early next year.
  • TerryWhite Chemmart — writing 35 patient information sheets to sit on their website. Many of them are already there.
  • Amplar Health — writing web copy for one of Medibank’s business enterprises.
  • Australian Centre for the Prevention of Cervical Cancer — writing web copy for the rebranded Victorian Cytology Service.

Plus, I wrote plenty of websites for individual health practitioners and other health-related businesses. I also wrote blogs and other articles for my regular clients and continued my work in AHPRA compliance.

Melbourne Health Writer Web Projects

2023 is a big year in business for me. Find out why. Click To Tweet

What’s in store for 2023?

Next year is a BIG year for me as I will celebrate 10 years in business! It’s a great milestone for any business, so I’m already thinking of how best to celebrate.

Next year is also a big year for our family. Our daughter will be undertaking Year 12 and supporting her will be our highest priority. She has also recently been accepted into the highest level of the Australian Girls Choir, so we will be busy running her around to rehearsals and gigs (at least until she has her licence)!

Our son is also going back to full-time study next year so my husband and I may not see too much of our children. But we are planning a couple of weeks away at the end of next year to celebrate the end of formal schooling in our household and we can’t wait for that.

I’ll still be working part-time with Jean Hailes, but will also continue to work with current and new clients next year. I’ve also got plans to expand my offerings, particularly around AHPRA compliance for health practitioners.

In February, I’m heading to the NSW Central Coast for a business retreat which I am so excited about. It promises to be the perfect balance of work, luxury and chill.

I’m also continuing to write fiction and have finally started the second novel I wanted to start last year! I have a ticking timeline to get the first draft completed by August as I’m heading to Adelaide for NatCon – a national writers’ conference run by Fiona McIntosh, one of Australia’s leading fiction writers. All the big names in the publishing industry will be there, and I’ll have a chance to pitch my novel to a couple of them. So it’s going to be a push!

Other than that, my goals are pretty simple:

  • Keep up with my regular training and daily walks
  • Take care of myself so I can take care of those I love
  • Continue to enjoy time with family and friends
  • Read every day
  • Find something to laugh about each day
  • Surround myself with people who inspire, support and encourage me.

Cheers to 2022!

Nerissa Bentley is the Melbourne Health WriterAnd now it’s time to rest, relax and recharge.

But first, a few thank yous.

A big THANK YOU to everyone who has chosen me as their copywriter this year! I’m very grateful for your faith in me.

Thank you to the amazing Clever Copywriting School Community who have been a constant source of support and inspiration this year.

And thank you to my family who always supports me and understands what a deadline means! (It means Ssshhhhh!)

Finally, I’d like to wish you a very happy and safe festive season. May it be a joyous time spent with loved ones. If you celebrate Christmas, then Merry Christmas!

I’ll see you in 2023!

Cheers
Nerissa

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