Nicole Laidler never imagined she would make her living as a wordsmith.
As a child growing up in London, her goal was to become a professional oboist. After studying music at McGill University she did just that, spending almost a decade performing across Europe as one half of an early music duo.
“Growing tired of living out of a suitcase, I decided to return home and go back to school,” remembers Laidler. She became the first student to graduate from Western University’s Music Administrative Studies program.
Three years of business and accounting classes convinced Laidler that she needed a more creative outlet. Still with an eye to working in arts administration, she applied to Western University’s Masters of Journalism program where she completed her internship with Orchestra London’s marketing department.
Laidler founded her company, Spilled Ink Writing & Wordsmithing after graduation in 2004. That same year, she became a member of the Professional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC).
For the past decade, she has enjoyed a diverse career as a freelance journalist and corporate communicator.
From her home office, Laidler works with numerous not-for-profit and business clients, writing everything from web copy and advertorials to brochures and blogs. As a ‘copywriter-to-the-rescue’ she also collaborates with local agencies on a project basis.
“There is no typical day, which suits me just fine.”
With Orchestra London as a client, Laidler was the copywriter for the Orchestra London Partnership Program brochure created in collaboration with Red Rhino. This publication won an IABC Award of Excellence and Best of the Best in 2008.
Laidler’s freelance writing has been published in almost every London newspaper and magazine. She served as the editor of The Beat – Arts in London magazine from its inception in September 2009 to its final issue in August 2013, an experience that was both challenging and rewarding.
Wanting to learn more about communication strategy and best PR practices, Laidler joined IABC in 2011. “With a minimal amount of formal training in corporate communications, the ongoing opportunities for professional development are invaluable,” explains Laidler. “By meeting other local communicators through IABC, I have a strong network of professionals to learn from.”
When she is not at her computer or out meeting clients, Laidler can usually be found chauffeuring her son to the hockey rink. She also serves on the board of his school and is a member of PWAC London & Southwestern Ontario’s executive committee. Although it may seem like Laidler is now far removed from her original career in music, her writing is often praised for its readability and flow. “I attribute this to a trained ear.” Her advice for students and future communicators echoes the words of a ‘J-school’ professor: “’Fake it till you make it.’ Don’t be afraid to try new things. Push beyond your comfort zone. Always meet your deadlines. Smile. And remember, there are no dumb questions.”