Saturday, June 19, 2010

Mix it up!

I've been wanting to start a blog about writing. My writing. A place where I can post articles I've written, and chronicle the writing journey I'll be starting soon when I begin to write "You Can't Stop This Dancer: The Fall and Rise of Nicole Marquez."

Writing is an interesting process. We all have access to the same words. Some use more of them than others. Some use obscure words to impress or intimidate. Others use words for the masses--words everyone knows and understands so they can get their point across. Some write on and on, and others are more concise.

I started my professional career as a television copywriter. I wrote and produced commercials at an NBC affiliate in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. I quickly learned to tell a story in thirty seconds or less. I had to let viewers know how a product or service could fill a need, and then communicate a compelling call to action. Results are important in advertising, or it's money wasted for the client. I became very results-driven.

My next job included writing not only television commercials, but radio spots and print advertising copy for a department store. That was a great learning experience for me as well. I learned that catchy headlines could make or break a print ad, and I learned that radio is theatre of the mind.

I went on to work for an advertising agency, where my repertoire of written copy included press releases, annual reports and brochures. Oh, and billboards. I became a great billboard copywriter. A good billboard contains eight or fewer words. Most people reading them are driving very fast, and they don't have time to read lots of small copy.

One of my favorite billboards is up now on Highway 49, south of Jackson. It's for a product called "Fish Fry," which is a breading product used for fish as well as for fried vegetables. A staple at many Southern tables in the summer is fried okra. The billboard has a big box of the Fish Fry product on the left, and on the right, it reads: As Seen On Okra. Get it? (My friends and I always refer to Oprah as "Okra.")

OK, that's either funny to you, and you totally get it and you'll remember the product. Or you'll read it, scratch your head and drive on...totally unaffected by the billboard ad. Such is writing. Know your target. Remember who you're writing to, and the message you're trying to get across.

From the ad agency, I went to work at WLBT (another NBC affiliate in Jackson) and then to Northpark Mall, where I was the marketing director. In that job, I had to write marketing plans--a whole new kind of writing.

But the best job of all is the one I've had since 2001. I'm a freelance writer now, working out of my home. I write articles for magazines, newspapers, business journals and other publications. The job gives me freedom, yet keeps me busy. Deadlines determine my office hours. I really enjoy what I do, because it's different every day. I write about a variety of subjects, and because of what I do, I talk to the most interesting people, getting details, quotes, but most of all, learning their stories. And believe me, everyone has a story!

Because most of my articles are 600 to 1500 words in length, I don't get very in-depth on any particular subject. I learn a little bit about a lot of things...and that makes me an interesting person to talk to at a cocktail party. When my knowledge of a subject is exhausted (which usually happens pretty quickly), I can just move on!

I'll be posting some of my articles on this blog, and I'd love to get your feedback. Feel free to leave comments or suggestions. But please be kind...if you absolutely hate something I've mixed up in the word blender, send me a private email and tell me why.

So, welcome to my new blog! Thanks for stopping by. Come back now, ya hear?

Blessings to all who read this!

No comments:

Post a Comment