Words fascinate me, they always have, particularly the written word. It’s one of the reasons why I’ve ended up trying to generate an income from them! We all use words all the time of course and they can convey more than simply messages, thoughts and ideas, although that’s what most of use them for most of the time.
Words can represent movement and rhythm, even without the addition of music. Of course, adding music can expand their power exponentially; but words can make music on their own. Consider poetry: It’s just words after all, but words artfully woven by the poet to create pictures in the imagination. As to giving us the sense of movement: Remember W. H. Auden?
This is the Night Mail crossing the border,
Bringing the cheque and the postal order,
Letters for the rich, letters for the poor,
The shop at the corner and the girl next door.
Pulling up Beattock, a steady climb:
The gradient’s against her, but she’s on time.
Past cotton-grass and moorland boulder
Shovelling white steam over her shoulder,
Snorting noisily as she passes
Silent miles of wind-bent grasses.
It’s just words! But, words that, not only conjure up the movement and rhythm of the train, but paint a picture for us. Remember, it was written in the days of steam, when trains really did have their own special rhythm. In the mind’s eye we can see the train rushing through the night. Well I can anyway!
Then there was good old Rudyard, Kipling that is;
Four and twenty ponies trotting in the dark,
Brandy for the parson, baccy for the clerk,
Laces for a lady, letter for a spy,
Them as asks no questions isn’t told a lie
So watch the wall my Darling while the gentlemen go by.
Movement again and another picture in the mind!
The words in both cases are just simple everyday language, nothing fancy, but the way they’re chosen and put together is nothing short of brilliant in my humble opinion.
Before I leave the subject of poetry, the writing of which is actually not what I do, there is another bit of verse I’d like to mention:
There once were two cats of Kilkenny,
Each thought there was one cat too many,
So they fought and they fit,
And they scratched and they bit,
Till, excepting their nails
And the tips of their tails,
Instead of two cats, there weren’t any.
If you’ve ever seen two cats fighting you’ll know how descriptive that is. There is a moral to that one too and a message for politicians the world over! It’s a traditional Irish verse, attributed to that great poet, Anon.
Now, as I said, I don’t do poetry but prose too can be quite musical as it gets its message across if the words are put together in the right way. When they are, there is a natural flow and rhythm to the piece which makes it easy and pleasurable to read. It’s that flow and rhythm that prose writers who care about their readers are constantly trying to achieve. It’s why we often write and re-write even apparently quite simple work over and over again before we’re satisfied. When people pay me £30 an hour for stuff; it’s not just for good grammar and perfect spelling! There is far more to effective writing than that. They are paying me to take their ideas and turn them into the kind of copy that others will find, not just informative, but persuasive and a pleasure to read. You’d be surprised how many re-writes it took to get a simple thing like a bottle label just right! In fact, whenever a client asks me to change some detail of something I’ve written, I often end up changing a whole lot more because whenever I go back to a piece of work, I can see things that I think could be improved!
Now, I can help pretty well anybody with their written work but some even more than others. For example, English is a pretty chaotic language full of traps for the unwary: If it’s not your 1st language, it is hard enough to learn to speak it well enough to be understood. Writing it can be a nightmare. I can help anyone in that situation, especially if they want the result to sound as though it’s coming from a native English speaker. It’s as much about nuances, idiom and the rhythm of English as the words themselves.
Really no-one should write his or her own copy anyway because they are much too close to the nitty-gritty of the business. All too often this leads to far too much technical detail being included in the text. Most potential customers don’t want that.
Most business owners are very busy people. Even those who do have the necessary skills just don’t have the time to give copywriting the care and attention it deserves.
I can help any business, anywhere. Remember: You are great at what you do but no-one can be good at everything. Not even me. Actually that should be, especially me, because writing is about the only thing I am good at so I need to make the most of it!