Sunday, January 13, 2008

Recommended Reading

The Copywriter's Handbook, by Robert Bly.

As noted, I write just about everything at my job, from intranet news to forum Q&A to magazine blurbs to policy documents to press releases. And this book shows you how to write, well, just about everything.

So it's a good fit.

I love the versatility of this little book. What it's helped me with a lot, in particular, is writing marketing and ad copy. I took a crash-course in script writing when I wrote up copy for some training videos (and realized there's a reason you keep your sentences so short in script writing). The marketing and ad work has been largely crash-course, too.

This book at least lets me understand what all the gauges me. And mayb softens the landing.

I'd been writing brochures and proposals at work already, but there's some great advice in here. I think a lot of my writing is intuitive - I can fake average writing because I have a decent ear for it, so you throw something at me and I produce something workable. But if I want to be any *good* at all the stuff I'm doing, that takes some more work on my part. Give me tens years of a job like this one, and I'll be able to write this stuff like breathing. As it is, I sit and think a lot about what I'm doing, what I'm trying to say, who I'm saying it to, and looking at how other people are saying it. I've done research on our competitors and watched how they sell themselves and their brand(s).

I don't know why it didn't occur to me before to do industry research (come on, Good Job 101). I think I've been so hopped up with worry about whether or not I'll have a job after season that I'm not sure how comfortable I should get. It's a lot of work to do for a job that's fly-by-night.

But then, everything is a risk. You put time into things you believe in. If they don't pan out, it's easy to say all that time was wasted. I sure as hell know it FEELS wasted when you get shitcanned... but I guess everything I learn now is stuff I can put toward the next thing and the next.

Because of the health insurance issue, it's not like I still harbor this realistic fantasy that I'll make it as a freelance writer in the future. To some extent, having a chronic illness sort of forced me to pay more attention to having an actual career instead of gambling it all on being the next JK Rowling.

Not that I wouldn't mind making some ridiculous amount of book money, mind (and not that that isn't my ultimate goal. Mmmm money!). I just realize that I'll need to be working for the vast majority of my life even if I do make vast amounts of book money.

I suppose that's good for me.

Builds character.

Makes me a more well-rounded individual.


Ah well.

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