Writing copy is the art, the science of being able to discern what word should go where and how just three words can carry a company’s slogan in the form of a tagline; think Nike—Just Do It!; Apple—ThinkDifferent; FNB—How Can We Help You?; Redefined Properties—We’re Not Landlords. We’re People.
The ability comes from constant writing and reading—beautiful space to be in, where I think like a designer when writing copy. Or I can work with a designer to create a layout for any sort of publication—be it a large company’s annual report, a book, flyer / poster, advertorial, social media posts, article, essays, thesis, music and other types of writing.
This ability—that comes from constant writing / storytelling—makes me feel like I have magic powers, because I understand that with one shift of a word, I can easily influence how someone else consumes the information I am presenting. (Presentation is essential! The way information is presented dictates, to some extent, how the reader takes-it-in and makes sense of it. This means, as a storyteller, I influence human behaviour, which then means I can use my work to change people’s views for the better.
May I call it Information Design?
So, when it’s all said and done, it becomes a combination of talent and then, constant practice and application takes over the reins and so it happens that you get better-and-better with time.
See below an example of words delivered impeccably well;
The magic lies in those three little words: Feed their curiosity.
And in all honesty, the genius is not in the saying, the words, because it’s a common expression somewhat. Writing of which, you’ve surely heard of this one: Curiosity killed a cat. Yes?
So, in this case, the writer turned the saying backward, and, Bob’s your uncle! they had their catchy copy; slogan, or, you might perhaps want to liven up a story you wish to tell.
However, the genius lies in the time spent reading different material; so much so that I am able to compare two divergent ideas, merge them and create magic out’a that!
What I find vastly interesting is the need to also pay attention to people, study them (that sounds creepy, doesn’t it?); and after looong enough, I remember starting to instinctively tell / establish, say, characteristics about a person even before they speak and when they speak, that also presents a boatload of insight into that person. For me, being interested in people has made me a faaar better storyteller — it accelerated the technique and skill. (When I write characters now, or a dialogue, it roars to life and turns into a nail-biting account, simply because I know people, I pay particular attention to mannerisms and the effect they have on people, and such things.)
I have come to learn: You cannot effectively tell stories of people when you are not interested in them.
You might be able to write up something from having an interview with someone, let’s say, but, it will lack “texture”. It won’t be tender, so to speak (write). An emotionless report is what will become of it (Although, there’s always a place for that type of writing).
Something magical happens when a piece of work is delivered with care and elegance.
It’s how you move people.
I remember reading words Terry Pheto had uttered, she walking about the business of being an acting and she said, “When you are an actor, you are an emotional athlete.” I was blown away.
That thought sums up what, by and large, creative work is and the burden (I hope I’m not being overly pessimistic) and emotional turmoil it makes one go through.
To some degree, that struggle should be part of the work you do; and right there! you begin to find interesting patterns: RnB artists are the best example t make here. Those okes are open, they go through a messy divorce and they write and produce an album off that (I know you’re thinking of Adele this instant).
You know, standing in front of people and merely talk is a bit of a headache. It’s doubly hard when you have to be vulnerable in front of them.
So, hats off to artists, who each time they ascend the stage, share a piece of themselves with the world!
Ultimately, those are some of the reasons it is said that I am practicing a craft. On top of sounding fancy, it also means I take it seriously that I can write and wan to write (and wax lyrical) and create fun interactions and bend minds.
This, it can said, is my obsession — Tap Dancing With My Pen.