From time to time I produce content for a client that gets feedback along the lines of, “You’re a natural!” Or, “Wow! You’re so talented!” There’s always a faint air of suprise at my ability to express what they want to say in exactly the right words, or admiration at my “gift”.
This is like praising your plumber for his giftedness with pipes, washers and water. Sure, I might have a flair for language, but that’s not enough to make me a good writer. It has taken me as much time, training and practice – well over Gladwell’s 10 000 hours – to get to this point.
I am a professional writer. Words are my tools. If you’ve hired me to write something for you, you should not be surprised that I deliver great words, well expressed. That is my expertise, and that’s what you should expect. That is the service I offer.
I didn’t just wake up one day and know how to do this. I have endured having chief sub-editors swear and shout at me over the phone for getting things wrong. I’ve had people tell me I couldn’t string a sentence together, or question how I managed to pass my journalism degree.
On the positive side, I’ve been taught and mentored by some really accomplished writers. I’ve attended courses, I’ve read scores of books about writing, and thousands just for the pleasure of the writing they contain. I continually update my knowledge by reading about language changes, writing and publishing.
Most importantly, I am always practising, always analysing writing I admire to figure out how the writer did X or Y. I try my hand at writing that is humorous, whimsical, serious, businesslike, promotional – because those are just a few of the styles my clients ask for. And I will rework and tweak until my clients are happy.
So when I deliver the content you’ve asked for – fast, accurately, and to your brief – it’s not because I’m a natural. It’s because I’m a professional who has honed her expertise over nearly three decades of producing the words her clients need.
And that’s what you get when you hire a professional to do the job, rather than attempting a bit of DIY – a finished product that works as it should.