By SUZANNE POWER
Creative Director, Liberty Communicates
Everyone has to be an author today, and most are terrified of the prospect.
I’ve been helping people to communicate with words for three decades. I’ve worked in all branches of media and publishing, in universities, in prisons, draughty community centres and parish halls, with the homeless and with heads of state.
They are all afraid of writing. Even when they have won the Booker Prize, they fear writing.
My key moment for this is when I was sitting with someone who had sold millions worldwide, who had picked up a prestigious award, who was feted, and she had her hand on my arm. I had just said to her I knew she would do it again. Write another book.
‘Do you think so?’ She asked a perfect stranger because we shared for that instant our love and our fear of words.
Similarly, I had a one to one client who had come into the literacy service because she wanted to write her own birthday and Christmas cards. She wanted her grandchildren to see what her children had not seen. Her handwriting.
I sat watching her spell things out with her lips moving to each letter.
There is no greater barrier to word flow than fearful memory. We all have one around writing, and it tends to originate in schools.
Writing is the most judged act of any human being’s life.
Your pen on your paper is graded, assessed, commented on before you read double digits in age.
No wonder you are terrified.
This is why ghostwriters exist. Content writers are just their latest incarnation. I am one. I prefer to think of myself as a companion writer, helping those with stories tell them in their own voice.
Your writing voice will be the subject of another post soon.
Finding your writing voice is not just the preserve of the author. It is the right and opportunity of anyone who has a story to tell. From selling nails to Silicon Valley, we are telling the story not just of our product, but of ourselves.
Legend and folktales tell the stories of occupations – the key moments of what people thousands of years ago did. Hieroglyphs are the original illustrative infographics. They are the keyword and life searches of the pharaohs.
Marketing is storytelling.
Telling the story of your product, is content, but it is not just the product, it is the story of you and that product.
You are the character. Your product or service the plot.
The incidents you write about on Facebook, Instagram, your blog, twitter and any other social media platform all boil down to the two keywords that feature in all writing from the Bible to the company brochure.
I am a person, who had an idea, who created an opportunity for myself, who had the bravery to see that opportunity through from inception, to business plan, to funding, to branding, to website building, to toil for the service or product to be both made and fashioned into something more, to make a living from that first thought that was, my idea, to gain a vital understanding of the terminologies: SEO, HTML, WordPress et al.
I love the phrase keyword, I see it not just as an analytics tool but as a key made of words, that fits in the lock of a door called opportunity. Sometimes big, sometimes small, but still a chance to gain a foothold in the future.
I wrote a poem in the shape of an actual key once to illustrate this.
Words, the most judged part of the human being’s entire life, are frightening at first, but always, always freeing when used honestly.
In the coming weeks I will share, lesson by lesson, example by example, word by word, how you can put together your own content, your own communication strategy, your personal wisdom and translation of your genius product or service. Whether you manufacture the inside of toilet rolls or are a high-tech high flier, you yourself are a story, and your best policy is the honest relaying of that.
See you here next week, pen, keyboard, or quill, or the end of a stubby pencil. Turn up. Be willing. Have strong hope and realistic expectations. I want to work with you, to help you. I remind myself through every writing student – from bestselling authors to warrior grannies working up the courage to write a Christmas card– if you have something to say, but don’t know where the words are; you will find them if you remain honest. We do this together.
You the writer, me the writer’s companion.
Let’s frame your content, so it pictures you the way you wished it to. You had the courage to come up with a business. Now all you have to do is let people like us in Liberty Communicates translate the bravery sufficiently, honestly, finally.