Day in the Life: Mackenzie Ames, Writer
Oct 12, 2016
“I’ve written since I could hold a pencil, honestly.”
Like most writers, Mackenzie Ames doesn’t remember a time when she wasn’t writing. While it has always been her passion, she took a rather unusual route to becoming a writer at Centerline.
“I went to school for journalism, that’s my foundation. I still think like a journalist, and I write like a journalist a lot of the time – I just infuse some creativity into it, now,” said Ames.
After a few internships and college, Ames moved towards the production side of journalism.
“I did reporting and producing while at school, and after graduation I took a job on a cruise ship for three years, running the broadcast center on board. I was doing a lot of video work, as well as writing and producing all on-board programming,” said Ames.
Back on the mainland, Ames took a job as a video producer at a content marketing agency in Greensboro.
“I was still helping with some of the writing for the videos I was producing – I’ve written in every job I’ve ever had since college, but it was never my main job,” explained Ames. “But it occurred to me that my favorite part of all my jobs was writing. It made sense – my entire family, for my entire life, has told me that I should be a writer.”
Ames started at Centerline as a Junior Writer, and over the course of a year moved into the role of Writer.
“I learned a lot that first year. I had always written for video, and here we create all kinds of things outside of video. I had never written an infographic, or messaging, or web copy outside of my own, personal website. I learned how to talk to an audience through different mediums, and I learned a whole new audience, because all of our clients are so different,” said Ames.
“Obviously at Centerline we have a very tech-heavy audience, and that’s not something I was super familiar with. Learning this new audience was definitely a challenge, and was something that really took about a year to nail down.”
Used to writing as a more solitary act, it was a pleasant surprise for Ames to have the support of a full team.
“Another thing I learned in that first year was collaboration. I learned, and enjoyed learning, how to have a whole team – from beginning to end – all working on the same project, around the same table,” said Ames.
We’ve said again and again that there is no typical day for a Centerliner. However, Ames said there is some consistency to her work.
“I come in and check my to-do list, which is based on deadlines, and then my calendar – and I’ll usually check in with my associate creative directors, or project managers if I have deadline questions or am waiting on client feedback,” said Ames.
“If I have a task on me that’s proofreading something that a client sent back, then I’ll put on my Show Tunes playlist, If I have to do a paper edit and I need to read through transcript after transcript, I’ll turn on Classical music. It just depends on what I’m going to work on – I pick the music to match the project, then I just plug in. I just get to work.”
After two years at Centerline, Ames is comfortable writing for some of the world’s best brands – though it doesn’t always come without challenges.
“I still have to do research, and refresh myself on things for different clients. Things are always changing in the tech world. I’m always referencing old notes, and I don’t think I’ve had a script yet where I haven’t had to look at something that a client sent for a refresher of what I’m going to be writing about,” said Ames. “It’s a lot of information to keep up with!”
Her best advice for an aspiring marketing writer?
“One of the best pieces of advice I can give a writer in a marketing setting is to try not to get too married to your work,” said Ames. “You have to be thick-skinned, and you have to be okay with changes, and with anything you write being ripped apart. Because it will be. It takes a while to learn what to take seriously, and what is constructive feedback, and what you just have to let roll off your shoulders.”
“That’s the hard part about being a writer,” said Ames. “It’s a job that’s very emotional. But eventually you’ll learn to pick your battles, and to let the hurtful things go.”
Interested in one of our open writing positions, but worried that your background might not be an exact fit? Ames has been there.
“I think everybody just 100% agrees that they love the people that they work with here, it’s a fun group of people. I appreciate the fact that Centerline gave me the chance to be a writer, because I had been looking for a long time, and nobody was willing to take a chance on me because previously I never had ‘Writer’ in my title,” said Ames.
“I think Centerline is good at recognizing people that are going to be a fit here, and they take that into consideration beyond just what your resume says. They give people a chance, and trust that the rest will come.”