Today I had to sacrifice my dose of writing to business. Pregnant pause. It was a response to a Request For Proposal for travel agency services. Looking back at my day, I realize how different this sort of writing is.
Writing a blog post – for me anyway – is a paddle down the river. You let yourself get carried along the stream, passing the odd rapid and reporting on life on the riverside. If you are lucky, you’ll crash down a waterfall and if you survive it, you’ll describe the experience of disaster and near loss of life.
Not so in business.
In business you wipe that smile of your face and start by summarizing the object of your report into headers. Seven is a great number. You mess around with these headers and their order until they almost make sense.
Time for a coffee. And a Skype chat. Checking the weather in the place where you want to be. Check a few blogs.
Deep breath and back to work.
You add sub headers. Although there are a lot more of them, they go faster because somehow they make sense.
This feels good. You can see a skeleton and it is smiling at you with the empty grin of a corporate soul. On we go. Time for the meat.
Skipping through the report you add bits of content here and there. A table with figures that you haven’t got yet. A really boring paragraph on something boring.
Erase. No good.
You try words, phrases, different punctuation. Swap phrases and paragraphs. Search the web for inspiration. After much effort you stare at a piece of marketing prose. You know it is bullshit. The customer knows it is bullshit. But whatever you do, don’t leave it out. I don’t believe business writing is considered writing by writers but unlike writing by writers, it pays rent! So go ahead, use words like agile and customer centric: they love it!
And as I save my precious business prose, I look longingly at my WordPress blog. Just a few lines. Pleasy please?
Alright, get your canoe and float down the river. Just make sure you’re home for dinner.
And as the yucky words disappear into distance I watch the reeds wave along the water’s edge. What is this? I hear a waterfall?
Yes! My lucky daaaaaayyyyyyy….