Grump. Grump. Grump.
My Grump-tastic Ways
It’s me, again—Autumn Tompkins.
The day my life changed…
After 3 hours of tediously typing and tweaking the copy I wrote, I threw my notebook across the room and cried.
This wasn’t just any cry—no, it was an angry, fed up cry. The kind of cry that only happens when you’re about to give up.
I couldn’t take it anymore…copywriting for customers from scratch was painful.
Painful because my customers didn’t know essential elements of their businesses like who their audiences were, who they were, and most importantly, what they believed in.
I had no foundation to work with. My words were as empty as their intake questionnaires.
And then it hit me…
I will never write another piece of copy from scratch again.
I’ll transform from copywriter to copy editor. I’ll embrace a part of my personality I keep hidden. And I’ll profit from it.
So I put on my big girl panties, wiggled a little bit, and giggled. But not like a schoolgirl. More like Dr. Evil while wringing my hands together.
In that moment, I reverted back to my childhood. But there was no…
Magical possibilities of wonder like…Do goldfish bounce? At what temperature do you bake a mud pie? And if you get ‘fired’ does that mean someone lights your pants on fire? Or is that just for lying?
Playful beliefs that you’re invincible. And tooth decay is a myth — yes, you CAN overindulge on candy without consequences.
Blissful thoughts that life can’t possibly get any better because pizza is shaped like the food pyramid, so it’s the only food you need.
Instead, it was…
Tests. Tourniquets. Tubes.
You see, I have a congenital myopathy and spent the vast majority of my childhood in a hospital suffering from chronic pneumonia. My average hospital stay was 3 months. But my longest? Just shy of 7 months.
And all of that made me grumpy with a capital Grump, because staying in the hospital meant…
No siblings to play with — because they had to go to school.
No pets to cuddle with — because they weren’t allowed in the hospital.
No Christmas presents — because my family didn’t celebrate until we were all together.
No fluffy birthday cake — because I couldn’t eat anything with a ventilation tube down my throat.
No warm sunshine on my skin — because I was stuck in a hospital bed.
All I got were ventilators, needles, and uncomfortable beds…
I was grumpy…So grumpy that the child entertainment specialist (Woody Wolfe) at Geisinger Medical Center made it his mission to make me smile.
Music changed me…
He knew music was the way and wrote a song about my grump-tastic ways: The Grump Song. Which included some of my favorite sarcastic comments about hospital living.
No, I don’t want to eat breakfast. It’s 7:45 a.m. Do you honestly think I want pancakes that early in the morning?
No, I don’t want to participate in physical therapy. I’m supposed to be healing. Not stretching my hamstrings. Do you think I’m going to run a 5K?
No, I don’t want to paint, color, or put glitter on ANYTHING. How do you expect me to take part in enrichment programs with all these tubes attached to my body? Let me watch MTV in peace.
Here’s the song. Listen at your own risk.
When he sang that song to me, it was the first time I smiled in a hospital. For the first time, I knew it was okay to be a grump. Hell, it was actually fun. Because I was a Grump who got away with…
-Improvised syringe “squirt gun” fights with the nurses.
-Extra time playing Super Mario Brothers with the hospital’s Nintendo.
-M & M poker with older cancer patients.
“Oh, she’s just grumpy today. Let her be.” – said every hospital staff member.
Because that’s what I am.
A Grump. Grump. Grump.
It means I’m being honest with myself.
I’m not hiding behind a perpetual curtain of positivity. Filled with fake smiles, uninspiring affirmations, and endless gratitude. I’m not ignoring the bad. I’m embracing it and learning from it.
I’m learning more about myself — how to love myself, how to treat myself, and how to be a better me.
When I’m a better me, you get the best of my abilities…
The strong leader
The critical thinker
The objective problem solver
Being a grump makes me unapologetically happy.
But a Grump does need to focus her grumpiness…
Which is how, over the years, I learned copy editing. And now I can take word vomit that anyone wrote and spin it into word gold that everyone loves to read.
My copy editing is a mishmash of editing, copywriting, and storytelling.
I’m a fantastic copywriter because of my stories.
My personal stories get more engagement than any other content I share. They’re the equivalent of internet small talk. And I spent years mastering this skill.
I spin mundane activities & routine life situations into storytelling gold just like Seinfeld.
I make these humdrum stories exciting for my readers by adding…
I believe this type of storytelling is a core copywriting skill because stories connect readers with copy and persuade them to buy.
And I have new kick-ass viewpoints about what I do like:
- You don’t have to be a great writer to create engaging copy. You just need to know how to tell flawless stories that persuade.
- Copywriting, storytelling, and persuasion are skills that anyone can learn.
- Language is a living tool that evolves — stodgy old grammar rules need to evolve with it.
- Using examples and repetition make learning fun, fast, and easy. And it makes your copywriting skills intuitive & instinctual.
- Copy editing isn’t about memorizing grammar rules. It’s about learning how to edit in a way that makes copy irresistible to readers. So they devour it because it’s effortless and addictive to read.
- Storytelling is a power copywriting tool. It’s often underused or not used correctly. Stories need to be specific and descriptive, so they can do their job.
- Persuasion is an essential copywriting skill. It’s often salesy and sounds unnatural & unauthentic. Persuasion can be fun and effective if used correctly.
Before working with me, you…
Doubt yourself, play it safe, and take less risks in your copy.
Because you’re too close to your copy, content, or customer. And you’ve unconsciously overlooked errors. Which causes you to make quick, embarrassed edits after one of your customer’s emails you about a mistake they found.
You know what happens then?
You fall into the deviled-egg-pit-of-despair. That mushy, yellow coward-esque part of your mind…
Where your brain tricks you into thinking you’re terrible at your craft, your customers are going to leave you & you’ll end up living in a van down by the river (thanks for nothing, Matt Foley).
But after working with me, you feel…
Confident…knowing that your words are persuasive enough to make your customers take action.
You also feel empowered…knowing that you have me by your side.
I’m a rigorous, skilled critic…But make no mistake—I am your ALLY.
As your Grumpy Grammarian . . .
I Believe . . .
Your copy should create a connection with your customers, so they buy into you.
In breaking all the grammar “rules”, so your customers know you have a strong command of expressive language.
You’re someone who understands the power of copywriting. And I PROMISE TO treat you with respect & transform your copy, so your words work for you. Not against you.
Because unconsciously overlooked errors cause you to lose your credibility and affect your bottom line.