Problogger’s Darren Rowse posted in his blog today about passion. It’s often hard to come by even when writing about your own life and experiences. So what do you do when you’re paid to write for someone else? Whether it’s writing copy for their website, sales materials, emails, or even tweaking their speech its all about how cool the client thinks their product or service is and then projecting that onto the reader. I like to think I’m borrowing my client’s passion. If I can talk with them on the phone or in person, I can get a real sense of excitement. Ask the right questions to prompt some emotion. “How does your patented scientific inner sole make you feel when you wear your sneakers?” It’s no secret that we respond to the emotions from the people we’re with. If your client is excited about their work that will rub off on you.
But what if the subject of your next writing job is just boring? Spending time on research can help to build a sense of anticipation. Track down some links to other articles about the service. You may find some excellent feedback that provides some inspiration for your sales copy. I posed the same question to Angie Haggstrom recently over Twitter. Well, it depends on the job, of course. One of Angie’s suggestions included writing with humour and then editing the funny parts out later. It’s a clever idea, and while you may end up doing a complete rewrite, a strategy like that is often enough to get the ball rolling and the creative juices flowing.
If you can transpose the passion of your client to the reader without losing anything in the process then you’re on the right track. I know I’m doing my work properly if I’ve convinced myself I need to buy the item I’m writing for.
Now…where did I put my credit card?
Sometimes it’s the smell of bread cooking, freshly mown grass, or a particular perfume that transports us back to the memory of a loved one or treasured domestic ritual. Sometimes we hear a sound that reminds us of an event from our past. A certain song, cicadas on a summer evening, even sirens. At other times it’s an object that helps to preserve the past. Letters, a book, printed photographs, or toys. I have Mr Rabbit.
He’s 35 years old, like me, and was given to me when I was a newborn. He went everywhere with me — carried by the ears — sleeping, shopping, away on holidays.
I lost him once.
We’d gone a trip with family friends and were all staying in a holiday house together. I remember waking up to see a huge huntsman spider on the doorframe. I thought it had crawled over us while we slept. I remember how I ate all my dinner so I’d be allowed to eat a bag of mixed lollies. Soon after, I threw up the lollies…and the dinner. Most of all, I remember the feeling when I’d left Mr Rabbit behind. But he soon came back to me. Cleaner than he was, and with his body re-covered in new fabric. Someone had lovingly restored him for me.
Some thirty years later, I see him sitting on my youngest son’s bookshelf–neglected, dusty, stained, and torn. I enquired a few years ago about having him properly cleaned and restored but it was too much money to part with. As I get older I wonder, is it too much to ask–to invest in our past, like we invest in our future?
Unravelling has drawn to a close. It’s been enlightening, enjoyable, and it’s opened some doors. I’m part of a new community of intelligent, creative, and encouraging women from all over the world. There’s an extension to this course that runs next month (Unravelling Further) but I think I want to walk around in these new shoes for a while.
One of the course participants drew our attention to the ‘Style Statement’ book. It’s a lot of questions that all filter down to two words. Those two words then “become a tool for making powerful choices that inspire the spirit, look, and feel of your life”. After a couple of weeks working through the book I discovered my style statement. Comfortable Essence. I like the words. They fit.
I love tracksuits and I’m happy to own that statement.
‘Style Statement’ describes Comfortable as “the consummate pleasure seeker. Physical comforts are paramount, and sensual gratification is a fundamental part of their lives. In their best form, Comfortable is easy-going, sincerely cheerful, and free from doubt. They can be highly sensitive… Comfortable tend to be focussed on security, whether financial or familial or emotional, and will naturally strive to preserve it… Comfortable is body centred, so the priority with fashion and furnishings is comfort. Casual, plush, overstuffed, loose-fitting, durable; warm tones… roomy, convenient, cozy, charming, spacious, airy.”
Essence is my ‘creative edge’ word. Your creative edge drives you forward. It’s how you express yourself. “Essence is guided by a determined search for what is divine and pure. Essence truly and deeply relishes the journey of life and trusts that the destination is momentary and perfect.”
I’m yet to really apply my words to the decisions I make day-to-day but I feel like I’m getting closer to working out who I am. Though, I guess it isn’t really about working it out. It’s about understanding, or even just accepting what I’ve always known and giving it a new power.