Logic and wisdom tell me that different writing tasks require different approaches. Corporate Communication often requires an eye for legal detail; Internal Communication needs to consider how the employee constituents will react and respond to news; Marketing and sales copywriting needs a hook and an easy call to action that demolishes a potential customer’s apathy.
Along with writing for the audience, a writer has to consider the medium too. Website, blog, newsletter, leaflet, box, magazine, white paper, mobile website, flyer, poster, book – the message may be of primary import, but the medium flavours how the reader perceives it.
So, how possible is it for a writer to be an expert in all these matters? Am I kidding myself that I can be a writer with who wears multiple hats?
I write web pages, for my voluntary organisation, that are for people in emotional difficulty, but also for the professionals who could help them. I also write emails and communiqués directly to members and supporters, keeping them up to date with our goings on and trying to engage them.
I’m also an Internal Communications specialist, with editorial responsibilities. I’ve stretched these skills into marketing copy as well, with some unmeasured success.
I’ve also written a short novel.
I must be niaive to believe that I have talent in all these areas; I must be ignorant of my own failings, and I’m probably neglecting to analyse where my true skills lie.
I know that different writing tasks require different writing skills and different approaches. But perhaps there’s a reason why recruiters look for specialists; they want to avoid the jack of all trade hacks.
If anyone were to accuse me of being a generalist and a hack, or a weak writer, I don’t think I’d defend myself too heatedly – although I truly believe I’m a skilled communicator for internal audiences (how do you feel about that, my dear external reader?).
My one and only argument is that I write with passion, with integrity, and with my readers in mind. As I have the eye of an editor, I try to watch my sentences and paragraphs as well.
I write for many audiences for the single reason that I have to. I write for many reasons because I have to. I work with some other talented writers, but resources are tight and a lot comes down to me, and whether I can be bothered to write and work. I can be bothered, and so I write.
I ask no one to excuse my lack of skills, but I don’t apologise for working in several fields, with several audiences.[Wedge]