10 Jun

Writing: hard, but not as hard as some think

I saw this post, earlier this week, which made my blood boil yet made me smile, in equal measure.
Some people genuinely believe that you just need to know English (or the mother tongue where you live) and how to use a keyboard, to be a copywriter.
I assume they also think that you just need a calculator and vague awareness of the tax system, to be an accountant?
(I could easily get sucked into a rant, so I’ll move on, quickly…)

However, there’s another group of people who almost believe the complete opposite: that copywriters (or anyone involved in writing) are some kind of sorcerers, shooting lightning bolts into the keyboard and using words and phrases that mere mortals can only dream of.

I was going to say that the truth is somewhere between the two, but – for myself and all my fellow scribes out there – I’ll say it’s closer to opinions of the second group of people…

Seriously though, writing decent copy is not as hard as many people make out.
Why do I say this?
Well, another ‘comedy great’ has just died – Rik Mayall. Whilst I’m not going to start waxing lyrical about him being ‘the best of a generation’, I did find Bottom, The Young Ones, and Blackadder funny.
When someone like Rik Mayall dies – as sad as it is – it serves as a good reminder of all the fantastic work they’ve written, produced, and/or directed.
I guarantee, over the coming weeks, there’ll be loads of old Rik Mayall comedies on TV, and a greater interest in his writings and general musings.

Again – why is this good?
Well, comedy written by ‘the greats’ is fantastic at showing that the very best writing doesn’t have to be complicated at all: it’s anything but.
On my shelves, I have books containing all of the Fawlty Towers scripts, scripts from The Goons, and Porridge scripts.
They don’t have as much punch as they did on screen, but they’re still bloody funny to read.
They all have one thing in common though: they’re written using really simple language.
There’s no ‘henceforth’ or ‘wherefore’ or fancy vocabulary – just well constructed sentences (or situations) using everyday speak.
You can get any of these books on Amazon. In fact – if we’re talking about Rik Mayall – you can get all of the Bottom scripts, in one book, for under £20.

If anyone thinks that writers are ‘amazing’ or that writing is ‘scary’ and you can only do it well if you use big, fancy words – please get hold of one/some of these scripts and you’ll see that’s complete b*ll*cks.
Writing/copywriting can be as simple as you want it to be. Copywriters aren’t the spawn of Hemmingway – we’re in the business of communicating quickly and simply, with a target audience: that’s all.

Of course, you should always seek out a professional for larger projects, but don’t believe that a good email, letter, or blog post can’t be written by a mere ‘mortal’ like yourself. It can – just keep it simple.




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