Everyone is a writer. Seriously. We all have to write everyday. Whether it’s an e-mail to a co-worker, a to-do list for your spouse or a check to the guy who just fixed your car, you have to put letters together into words and make sentences to convey your point. That’s writing.
Me? I actually write for a living so I have to do a little more than that. Actually a lot more than that.
Without question, I have to have my facts straight. I have to tell things truthfully because I represent my co-workers to our clients and our clients to their customers. That is a huge responsibility that I take very seriously.
The other side of writing for a living is that I have to make said facts interesting.
There’s an ongoing joke inside advertising that most copywriters enjoy on the outside and silently jab their co-workers with forks in their minds. That no one ever reads the copy. Ah ha ha. Real funny, huh?
Well, it’s true. If you don’t engage people right off the bat, they’re never going to read that stinger ending you edited and re-edited for 25 minutes just to get the cadence right. But even that’s not the hard part.
You can get your facts right and make what you write interesting. But you can still fail if what you write doesn’t move people or show them that you truly understand what you’re talking about.
Case in point. Early in my writing career, I wrote an article about a new piece of mammogram technology. The nurse who looked it over for me actually laughed when she read it and said, “Honey! How old are you? You have obviously never had a mammogram!”
I hadn’t. And it obviously showed. Which is not good when your target audience is all too familiar with the annual pain and discomfort that is the price for potentially lifesaving images.
Her good natured ribbing that day was a humbling experience that taught me a lot about my job as a writer. It’s one thing to write to get a point across. Anyone can do that.
It’s quite another to write things that actually speak to other people. That’s my job.
Every word. Every sentence. Every project. Every day.