That's correct: I will discourage them. On purpose. Knowing that I could have got money for the job. And they'll say to me "Chris...are you alright?"
I usually say "I'm fine. I'm confident I haven't--"
"Banged your head?"
"Yes. That one."
Does this hurt my business? Not really, not in the end. I wouldn't say so. For me, being a copywriter isn't just about saying "you need copy" every time someone knocks on my virtual door. It's also very much about appropriate use of text. It's about the right thing in the right place. It's about more than a lot of people might first think. And, as copywriters, we should know when things are and are not appropriate. That's why our clients come back to us, over and over again. We are paid to know these things.
In fact, a scenario like this occurred quite recently, which may have been the trigger for today's post. A client came to me and asked me how we could get some benefits across better to his customers. Having just written a page of copy for him, including, very fully, the benefits he was speaking of, I gave it some thought and then concluded that we had said all we could say on that page, without being overly repetitive. Without boring the reader. So I recommended that, instead, he use an infographic. Something to keep things fresh, fun and interesting.
So in fact, I'd say the opposite. Saying No to copy isn't bad, it's good. Because ultimately being a copywriter isn't just about using words. It's about knowing the market you're working in. And in reality, that's the most important thing of all.