Many of my friends aren’t sure what I’m actually doing for a living. Most thought I’d be handling a corporate job. Then there are others who think I’d pursue illustration, which I was a huge fan of just a decade ago. I didn’t end up doing any of them.
Instead, I found a year-long job as a wordsmith. And though it wasn’t a big shot stint, boy, did I believe it was tailored for me. Being a wordsmith in the digital age is exciting: it’s insanely structured and stylized yet so full of room for creativity and authenticity. And let’s not forget, influence.
That single year and a couple of months flexed my writing muscles, teaching me what to write, how to write it, when to write it, and who to write it for. While it didn’t guarantee viral posts, it cultivated a habit and developed a more refined wording technique. Not necessarily less is more, but more of, everything necessary is enough. In the words of my former boss, fluff-free. Being fluff-free requires direction and foresight. And direction and foresight wouldn’t be clear without instinct and empathy. Every word. Every sentence. Every image. Every post. Every blog entry. It revolves around what feels right to you and what is right for your audience. Of course, you can’t do away with your client, but as a cultivator of ideas, you make recommendations. Suggestions backed by market research and an experience of being one with those who see your work and the brand which it showcases. There is always something bigger than a client’s request and a group’s demand. And that’s the customers’ clamor. Clamor for new ways to see whatever it is you are presenting to them.
As a digital marketing writer, my editors often told me that my strength was creating different angles and approaches to an age-old topic. In other words, I can make it sound new. For me, my strength as a wordsmith is that I can put my empathy to words. I can tell customers what they want and need to hear, and I can tell my client what they will need more of, or what they can do away with. It’s about adding value to what others value. And in the process, weeding out what they do not need.
I am a wordsmith and I have audiences. And my most constant audience is myself. I am very aware of the influence words have on those whom they reach. In the marketing world and in everyday life, you either wield its power as you would a sword, or silence them till they are forgotten. In this line of work, I choose to do both.
Marketing involves more media, and writing different forms may take a back seat. But not really. Words bind everything together. Style showcases what words bind, the way others will see it best. And time and context will reveal it the way others will see and accept it the most.
Being a wordsmith brought me to marketing. Developing empathy, foresight, and focus allowed me to make opportunities for myself, regardless of who says what about my job.
I know my skills as a young professional may be limited, but that will only be true if I allow it to define the quality of my work. At the heart of this complicated variety of media are a string of words expressing powerful ideas. And I am the mind that conceives them and the hand that writes them.