10 August 2011

Teaching writing to clients

I read an article this afternoon titled, "3 Steps to Finding Your True Writing Voice". The author is a copywriter who has been asked multiple times, "teach me to write like you". I've read many, many other blog posts on the subject of learning to write, but this one made more of an impact.

Brushing aside the gut reaction of "why would I teach myself out of a job?" I know that writers consent to (on the surface, at least) tutor themselves out of work for the purpose of getting their names out there. In enough cases, potential clients will be convinced of the writer's talent, but not motivated to take on their own copywriting as a DIY project. I agree with the strategy, from a marketing point of view.

What I don't agree with is the impression the practice creates. Writing is easy. Here, try these tips and you too will create amazing content. Like many professional writers, I have a writing degree which took a host of instructors and over four years of my life to complete. Added to that is the introspective assessment that I didn't develop truly effective writing skills until I had several years of workplace experience to back up my education.

So with the above context in mind, my question to other writers is, can we genuinely assist self-motivated clients with a few pointers? Or in the end, are we devaluing our industry as a whole if we give the impression that the ability to make meaningful connections with readers can be acquired through a little light reading?

I'm not taking the stance that writers are experts and other businesspeople are not. It is certainly possible to develop advanced skills through self-guided study. But you have to be starting from a place of inherent talent. Almost all of us can write, just as it doesn't break any laws of physics for most of us to sing, dance, paint, take photographs, or craft a sculpture. Will it be any good is the real question.

In creative endeavours, 'good' is always relative. But for the same reason I lift an eyebrow at writers that make our craft seem like neurosurgery (instilling fear in their readers to even attempt as much as a memo), I'm wary of writers that offer to dole out admission to the wordsmithing theme park where you only need to be "this tall" to get on the roller coaster.

06 August 2011

Custom silver steampunk swallow

I always enjoy custom work, so I wanted to share this photo of my latest made-to-order design. This is a miniature and pure silver (including several ruby chips) version of my brass steampunk swallows (recent version shown in the 2nd photo).

These swallows are always one-of-a-kind, but making a tiny copy with real silver was new. It was a pleasure to make this piece and I hope its new owner wears it well.

Silver Steampunk Swallow

Brass and Silver Steampunk Swallows