I’ve spent the week writing award entries.
Well, commissioning, editing, re-drafting award entries.
But then writing is all of those things, I think.
It’s an intriguing and challenging task, doing entries.
Unlike blogging, where I always end up writing longer pieces than I intended, there’s a series of limitations of the sort that make any creative task interesting.
There’s the word count, of course.
Then there’s whatever structure the organisation has decreed we need to abide by.
Then there’s the subject matter – the work itself.
This makes the parameters of what you have to write very clear – no going off at tangents here.
This is where it becomes a challenge.
You need to find the balance between what you did, and the reason it might be remotely interesting.
Recount the facts, but keep the story front and centre.
Now, I didn’t work on many of the projects I’ve been writing.
But that’s the key, I think.
When you’re trawling the agency, trying to source the best work, you end up badgering people.
It can be hard to get stuff out of people.
And this is because you’re badgering people to do a few things that we’re not always very good at in our line of work.
First, you’re asking them to blow their own trumpet.
Ask anyone what the best thing they’ve done this year is and chances are you’ll have to prompt with a few specifics before they admit to thinking something they did was any good.
Second, you’re asking them to look backwards.
We don’t do a lot of that. We’re more interested in, or more drawn to, what’s now or what’s next.
Third, you’re asking them to undo all the knowledge they’ve accrued completing the project.
I think it sometimes needs someone not necessarily buried in the detail to turn a past campaign into good story.
Because writing is not starting with a blank sheet of paper. It’s choosing what to say when you could say anything.
It’s what is worth leaving in once you’ve taken everything else out.
And when you know everything it’s hard to edit out the 90% you don’t need.