How do you write to show you can write?

For people in my line of business, this can be a problem.

In an age when anybody who tweets probably believes they can write, and everybody with a keyboard thinks they’re an author, it’s sometimes very hard to know how to show people you have a skill that can seem like a gift but, more often than not, requires hard graft.

It seems especially hard when you’re trying to convince them that your skills can help them communicate better.

In my case I could, for example, talk about the amount of time I spend researching a new subject so that I can write about it with some authority. And I can hope that, by expressing this simple thought and its related benefits in a clear and engaging way, I can persuade someone to commission me.

On the other hand, I could point them in the direction of pieces I’ve recently written, or work I completed years ago. That might prove I can do it.

I could even brag about the awards I’ve won. But the trouble with that is, it’s so long ago it’s hard to remember who presented them, when and what for. And would anyone think they’re still relevant?

I could, of course, simply write something for someone – anyone – to read. But the question is what?

Suitable subject

Some months ago, when my Creative Ampersand colleagues and I were casting around for a suitable subject that might showcase our skills as writers and designers, Hester lit on the idea that all the world’s typefaces must have stories to tell, if only they could be liberated from telling other people’s tales.

As she said, they are the pack-horses of the written word, constantly conveying ideas and information from one mind to another – or even many others – so they must have something to say.

We both thought this was rather a good idea.

Between us, we drew up a random selection of twenty-six typefaces – one for each letter of the alphabet – and set about unearthing their origins and the ways in which each one has been used, before writing up what’s become our Tales of a Type.

We then asked our designer colleague, Robert Barkshire, to come up with an interesting way of displaying the individual stories.

The result – which you can see at & PROJECTS on our website at www.creativeampersand.co.uk – not only shows that we can write, but also that we can do so in what we hope is an engaging, entertaining and informative way.

It solved a problem for us, in that it allowed us to demonstrate our skills, and it was a lot of fun to do.

Whether or not playing a game like ours will help you figure out how to write about how you write is, of course, another matter.

All I can say is: “I hope you have fun.”

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