I know at one time in my life I wrote reams of poems and short stories. I started a million novels. I scribbled out every last emotion in binders full of journals. I was an English major specializing in creative writing. I let my imagination run and pen run even more.
I still claim the traits that make me a writer: My creativity, my perceptions, my love of a well-written passage that shakes the bones of me. But I’ve spent the last two decades fostering the other side of my brain – the more logical, scientific part that’s needed in marketing and communications.
And so now, my writing is still creative, but it’s also:
Concise: My job is to get people to take action, whether it’s to buy, click, sign up, fund, or donate. I have to be creative and imaginative, but in only four lines, or one button, or 600 pixels, or 140 characters (ideally 120 for RTs), or 100 words (with just enough being SEO keywords or linkable to specific landing pages).
Vetted: I write in line with voice and messaging guides, whether they’re established by others or by me in defining the identity and purpose of an organization or company. I build on the brand identity, congruent with the terminology, phrasing, and positioning of each company’s desired image and strategic vision.
Attention-getting: I am always after an intriguing subject line, perfect headline, or strong P.S. – whatever it will take to motivate the audience to act. I know when to be clever, and when to cut to the chase.
Sliced and diced: I generate content that can be repurposed for print, web, and social media, to get the most bang for the marketing buck. I can write one white paper and rework and recast it for a press release, ad, tweet, blog, brochure, and web page, for maximum impact, with zero hand-holding.
Strategic. Finally, I don’t write just to write. My words are positioned to make something happen: a click-through, phone call, grant award, or purchase. And while I do not cure diseases or advance scientific innovation, I do write copy that is planned out, logical, and tested to meet objectives.
I am no longer a young English major. I do not stare off into the sunset, formulating the perfect sentence to capture the meaning of life. I am not the passionate hipster writer from “Peggy Sue Got Married.” (I will never “push myself from the dinner table and say, ‘No more Jell-O for me, mom!’”) And I may not ever finish a novel.
But I am a writer. A good one. Call me.