Stirring the Word Soup

Oh, how I love good writing.

I’ve earned my living writing advertising copy… words to motivate, educate, inspire. To bring warm bodies and their wallets through a door and make a client some money.  

I was-and still am- good at that.

You don’t have to work on Madison Avenue to produce warm bodies and wallets. I did it in a regional Midwestern market for over 32 years. But it was never easy. I stirred and stirred my word soup until it was as perfect as I could make it. I realized my mentor was right when she used to tell me “Don’t take for granted what you know and do well.” When I read what someone else eventually wrote for those clients, I realized I was a lot better than I gave myself credit for.  

They say to be a better writer, you need to read a lot. And I do.  

The major daily newspapers (until I can’t stomach the sadness.) 

John Grisham. 

And I read some blogs, like this one  Rich never fails to make me laugh, or cry, or think.

Write Out Loud!

I’m also a student of my industry. Great advertising is inspiring. A Sharpie has always been my preferred writing instrument, so this resonated with me:  

Why the hell they ever ditched that campaign is still a mystery to me.

And then sentences like these…     

From Jason Gay in the Wall Street Journal on Tom Brady’s retirement (I despise Tom Brady):

“Did you expect him to retreat from public life, to grow a long, flowing beard and become a recluse who writes unpublished books about trains, and is occasionally photographed midday outside a decaying mansion in a silk TB12 bathrobe, eating almonds and talking to squirrels?” 

Or from Tim Hayward in The Financial Times, reviewing chef Theo Randall’s restaurant:

Noting that a serving of a sort of Fontina cheese soufflé was 590 calories, he wrote, “If it had been 10 times that I’d have eaten half, paused to call for a defibrillator and gone back in with a song on my lips.”

Defibrillator.  That must have been some damned fine cheese. 

Anyway, thinking about writing is easy. Doing it with any degree of worth is not.  

So I keep stirring the word soup and hope I get something write.


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