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What I do best

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This is a post for www.writesofluid.com’s blog writing challenge.  One blog post a day for all of June!  Check it out at the website or on twitter: @sofluid or #wpad!

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The short:  I do writing best.  Of all the things I have ever done and ever tried, writing feels the best and the most natural.  It is the thing that has always felt that way, no matter how much I tried to ignore it.

The long:  Ben and I were strolling along the beach the other day, as we often do, and we were discussing process.  Ben’s process of video editing is not all that dissimilar from my process of writing, yet we are both confounded by one another’s abilities.  Sometimes, I confess, I am also confounded by my own abilities.

My process, in theory, is simple.  I learn about the essence of a thing.  The story I need to tell, the language I need to use to tell it, the feelings and messages I need to get across.  I absorb everything I can around the piece, be it novel or website, event or video, then it rattles around in my brain.  This is the part that is most bewildering, the rattling.  I’m not actually sure what it does up there.  It swims and swirls amongst the grey matter and electrical impulses and chemical cascades. It does all this then comes out the other end as words.  Orderly, appropriate, well-dressed (sometimes beautiful)  sentences and paragraphs marching right from my brain onto the page. Simple right?  I guess.  I mean I feel it, I go through it and it happens, but I’m not entirely sure why or how.

The process itself and the outcome are shocking to Ben, just as his process and outcome shocks me.  We look at each other across the office and think ‘how does s/he do that?” so that fact alone makes me think it is something I do well, best even.

But all that’s pretty broad, pretty ethereal even.  Maybe a little woo woo?  Who’s really here to hear me say ‘it’s just a feeling dude…I just like…feel the words…”?

So let’s get specific:

I thrive at imagery and brevity.  Vivid imagery conjured in short, sweet ways that leave you with just enough to set the scene, but not so much that your imagination doesn’t have to do a little work.

I love the challenge of pairing information with beauty.  This shines through in my corporate work more than anywhere else.

I excel at unstructured wordplay.  I used to be a free spirit, I guess I still am a bit.  I love a basic story idea that I can run with and see where it takes me.  I love to be surprised by my characters and the choices they make.

I adore the craft of writing.  Fitting words together in the right way is like a puzzle that is completely rewarding to solve.  It just feels good.

So that’s me…what about you?

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The Beauty of Corporate Writing

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Corporate writing can be beautiful.

Don’t believe me?  I guess I don’t blame you, but I’m telling the truth.

Fiction writing is an unbounded thing, wild and fancy free.  There are some boundaries, sure, but not many.  You’re unfettered, letting your imagination wander and run wherever it wants to.  Although this can be wonderful, it can be intimidating.  With fiction writing, it’s all on you.  It’s up to you to be fabulously imaginative, unique, un-cliche.  I used to have a reoccurring fever dream when I was young.  In it, everything felt big, not big and free, but big in an impossibly massive way that gave my little mind an existential freak out.  In my dreams the world felt too huge, too unwieldy, there was too much to be done, to be explored.  That’s sometimes how I feel about fiction writing.  Like if I pick one idea, I’m leaving too much out there, unwritten.

Corporate writing is the exact opposite.  It is tightly bound by rules and values, concepts and plans.  You must take a specific idea and communicate it in the exact way someone else wants you to (but with your own flair).  You must aggregate massive amounts of information and churn them through the well oiled machine of your mind, then it must come out clearly and concisely on the other end.

Sound boring?  Think again.

I think what people often forget is that corporate writing is still writing, so it’s a gift.  The trick is to remember it is writing and you are a writer.  As writers we have the unique enjoyment of being allowed (and sometimes even paid) to play with words.  It’s our job to put one word after another and make them sound smooth, flawless and wonderful.  Corporate writing can be a challenge, which is great, and better yet you are allowed the opportunity to add in your own personal challenge.  The challenge of making it beautiful.

So what is beauty when it comes to corporate writing?  Pretty much the same thing that beauty in fiction is.  Here’s some ideas for challenges you can issue yourself when it comes to adding beauty to your corporate words:

Brevity

I think brevity is stunning.  The simplicity, the awe-inspiring lack of confusion and clutter.  It takes a masterful mind to write something short, but exactly to the point.

Rich Imagery

I was writing a proposal for a client the other day and I was inspired by how much imagery I got to infuse.  It was a challenge to balance the imagery with the information, but by the end I was proud of the simple beauty of the piece.


Making it compelling

A lot of corporate writing can lean towards being a little dry, but it’s your job as the wordsmith to make it compelling.  Words have an endless amount of combinations, but if you choose the right order, any piece can have an element of art to it.

Information

Weaving information into the writing can be a challenge, but to do it well can be enormously satisfying.  Think of all the times you’ve had to communicate a bit of information.  You juggle the words, play with them, move them around, then bingo!  If that eureka moment isn’t a bit of beauty then I’ll eat this paragraph.

Still think I’m nuts for thinking corporate writing can have beauty in it?
Just surf the internet for a bit and check out websites.  Read a bunch of the copy and compare.  Some websites are quick, punchy and to the point, while others are slow, paunchy and drop the ball.

Corporate writing can be beautiful.

Beauty is everywhere, but sometimes we have to look a little closer to find it.

Look closer at your corporate writing and tell me how you find beauty in it.