I’ve been asked in the past, when I’ve been chatting a potential client about some copy writing, “Do you have any experience of writing about X, Y and Z?”.
Now, I’m sure you can appreciate that, unless I’m the most widely travelled, read, worked and written person in the world, I don’t have experience of writing about a great number of subjects. For example, I have no idea about photography, farming, scuba diving or cheese-making (not an exhaustive list you understand) but that definitely doesn’t stop me writing about them. Why should it? I mean, everyone has to start somewhere. At this point I probably have to rule myself out of writing about any of those subjects on a technical or academic level – that sort of thing is always best left to the techies and the academics I find.
However, when it comes to writing about any subject in an everyday sense it becomes a different matter entirely. The way I look at it is this: I have to understand a topic or field before I can write about it in a way that the average reader will understand. This requires me, therefore, to enter into a spot (or in some cases, great acreages) of research into the given subject. Which is what I do. I teach myself about wind turbines, smoke hatches, emergency exits and video editing. I absorb like a sponge. And if I’m still not sated after my emersion in those worlds, I track down someone who knows what they’re talking about in relation to a subject and ask them (sometimes really stupid) questions until I have all the information I need.
And hence, I believe, I am able to write about a very long list of subjects about which I previously knew very little. Simple.
So when I was asked that question in the latter part of 2011 with the specific subject of tender writing and procurement, I knew precisely what to say. I researched, I absorbed and I wrote. And here’s the result:
I love my job.