If, by Rudyard Kipling (c.1895)

Adapted by Kate Morgan (2020)

If you can keep your headline when all about you   

    Are losing theirs and blaming it on the client,   

If you can trust yourself when all designers doubt you,

    But make allowance for their doubting too;   

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

    Or being compromised, don’t deal in compromise,

Or being rewritten, don’t give way to rewriting,

    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:


If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   

    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   

If you can meet with Social and Digital

    And treat those two impostors just the same;   

If you can bear to read the copy you’ve crafted

    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the concepts you gave your life to, broken,

    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:


If you can make one idea shine brightly

    And risk it on the whim of a pitch and a boss,

And lose, and start again with blank screen

    And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

    To serve your words long after they are gone,   

And so go on when there is nothing in you

    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Go on!’


If you can talk with Twitter and keep your virtue,   

    Or walk with C-suite —nor lose the common touch,

If neither clients nor brand champions can hurt you,

    If all people work with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving timesheet

    With sixty minutes’ worth of copy written,   

Yours is the brief and everything that’s invoiced,   

    And—which is more—you’ll be a copywriter, my friend!