It doesn’t happen overnight. Your teammates don’t wake up, yawn, and decide it’s about time for you to write some interface copy.
UX tasks usually sidle up to you bashfully, one at a time. Front-end needs a notification that tells the user their payment fell through. Another time there’s a new pricing plan in production and someone has to fill in the blanks for a switch flow—that someone happens to be you.
Slowly but surely, developers and designers adopt the idea that it’s probably not their job to write copy within the app. Maybe, maybe, someone knowledgeable in language would be a better fit for the task. Fast forward a couple of months—you’re writing everything for the product and no one taught you how.
Molding a new role is hyper-exciting but feels like a free fall. It’s terra incognita, with no rules and no guidance.
Large companies can usually spare a buck or two for an experienced UX writer (even though the term, as well as the position, have only crystalized recently), but early-stage startups can hardly afford a copywriter at all, let alone a designated product writer.
For me, and for a huge number of copywriters out there, this is exactly how it happened. I started off as a marketing copywriter and adopted the new product-planning responsibilities on the go. If you’re caught up in this transition or know a fellow writer who’s struggling, know this—you’re not alone, and there is help. It’s mostly online, since chances are you’ve ended up in this position because there was no one to help at your company, but Google and articles like this one always have your back.