Reasons to Hire a Writer #2: A Writer Remembers

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"The dignity of movement of an ice-berg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water." -Ernest Hemingway Photo by flickr user Denny Nkemontoh, under CC license.
“The dignity of movement of an ice-berg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water.”
-Ernest Hemingway

Emerson said ” ‘Tis the good reader that makes the good book.” Two readers pick up the same volume. One reads words, receives a story, and is entertained. The other –a writer– also reads the words, but in the context of the thousands of other books s/he has read. In his mind each setting, each character, each way of writing is filed in a mental list, becoming in essence a living database of style and context.

The writer also receives a story, but the writer knows stories. The story, is it wordy? Does it say enough? Is it full of gaps: barriers to comprehension? Does it inform and impress enough to be authoritative; to have what some call ‘the ring of truth?’

The writer is also entertained, but as this is his trade and he is a list-making analyzer, his standards will be high. In business and technical writing we replace ‘entertain’ with ‘inform,’ but just as the words used in fiction and business are identical the analytical tools of the writer transform seamlessly to commercial communications.

The writer you hire has a mind just like yours. Whereas yours might be swarming with lines of unwritten code or crowded with market & performance data in aid of your strategic and operational decision-making, the writer’s mind is stacked deep with context, driven by a mania for clarity, and made to adapt.

This last provides perhaps the most value in the business world. A writer is a reader, and by nature an editor. S/he is by training and instinct accustomed to holding hundreds of conceptual lines in mind at once. As Hemingway observed early in his career writing for Cooperative Commonwealth (a former weekly business magazine in Chicago), when presented with business tasks the writer simply makes room in his mind for work and art together. In this s/he is supremely adaptive both to circumstances and information, an inherent skill that translates perfectly into a MARCOM gatekeeper and editor, a social media manager, or communications project manager.

The writer brings a wealth of cultural perspective to discussions about strategy and deep knowledge to conversations about messaging in the act of putting his considerable talents at the disposal of his employer. No matter the message, no matter the audience, a writer has the tools organizations need to bridge critical gaps in messaging, strategy, and talent.

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