Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sigh ... yes, it's about you now

Rarely did I ever write about me.

Never did I ever write about you.

Now I have to.

Long have I believed a writer shouldn’t put herself in the story, except under very special circumstances. Sometimes, a first-hand account just works. A handful of instances come to mind, such as when I broke my arm, when my father died, or when I was bidding farewell to a community I had come to adopt as my own.

Long have I believed a reader has no place in the story and, thus, the word ‘you’ was stricken from my writing vocabulary. When I became a copy editor, I considered second-person format lazy, preventing the writer from delving deep into his talents and abilities and being more creative with his words.

‘But that’s my style,’ one writer bemoaned.

‘Your style is crap,’ I thought to myself. (Yes, I do have fleeting moments in my life where the filter worked and I actually didn’t say out loud exactly what was on my mind.)

You see, dear readers, we are all fortunate observers of history. The individuals involved in those great moments that deserve a story are the ones about whom I wrote – not you and certainly not me.

Journalists should engage the readers with their words and thoughtful accounts of events and news, drawing readers into the story, rather than dropping them in.

I’ve had to change my thought pattern in recent days, however.

A new job has taken me across town and across boundaries. A telecommunications corporation was in need of a writer as they undertake the massive project of redesigning their website.

That writer turns out to be me.

And as I shift from journalist-at-heart-turned-PR-pro to web writer, I’m tasked with engaging my future readers by speaking directly to them.

‘You’ve never experienced TV like this before,’ I wrote yesterday.

My heart ached a little as I longed for the days when I could weave a web of words and express the thoughts and desires of an athlete, or describe the very essence of a gold-medal moment.

I have to keep in mind, though, that I’m getting paid (very) well to write, the one thing I know I do well . . . and remember that for a very long time I got paid to do what others would for free.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, come on now. It's always been about you! Except when it's been all about me!