On the Floor
Last Friday I stumbled across an article in The Guardian that strongly resonated with me as a recent Communication Studies graduate and as factor[e]’s newest intern.
In the past few weeks, factor[e] has introduced me to the wonderful world of creative copywriting. For years, I’ve ached for a job that allowed me to employ my imagination. Yet when the first opportunity to utilize my creative writing skills presented itself – my mind went blank. I couldn't understand why.
In Sanam Petri’s article, the London-based creative director discusses the implications of educating an entire generation of communications students to “think” like advertisers. While Petri was hosting a copywriting workshop for a group of potential interns, she found that although these students had real opinions and ideas on the current state of the industry, their writing lacked passion and eloquence. The work that they produced for her copywriting exercise was full of regurgitated advertising clichés that were straight from a late-night infomercial.
There’s no doubt that the state of advertising is evolving, and in turn, is changing the way we communicate. Yet many of us are not writing because we enjoy the process of conceptualizing thoughts on paper. Instead, we create work that simply showcases our ability to think and write like advertisers. As we filter our ideas through some ancient canon of 1960s-esque standards, we must ask ourselves - is this the kind of creative work we want to produce?
Needless to say, I certainly saw reflections of myself in this article. Most of the writing and research I produced during my post-secondary studies serves as a reminder of the tedious inconvenience of organizing thoughts into a standardized essay format. Although this kind of exercise fosters essential critical thinking skills, the work I produced was rarely enjoyable to write, and presumably, even less enjoyable to read. It is evident that at some point during university, writing became a chore.
Yet, hope remains!
Having the opportunity to intern at factor[e], a studio that nurtures creativity and imagination, has been both a blessing and an exciting, new challenge. In the spirit of this article, I am going to make a conscious effort to rediscover all that I once-loved about creative writing to improve the quality of work that I’ll be sharing with all of you in the coming months! With this resolution in mind, the advice of my Grade 12 Writer’s Craft teacher still rings true: Writing creatively means to first write without a filter. Put all your thoughts on paper. There’s always time for revision later.
Thank you for the good advice Mr. Shea!
On that note, I may hunt for my old Writer’s Craft journal tonight for some inspiration ... Well, on second thought … maybe some creative writing is better left scrawled inside highschool exercise books.
Check out Sanam Petri’s article “The lost art of creative copywriting in advertising” here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media-network/media-network-blog/2012/dec/04/lost-art-creative-copywriting-advertising