Some discussions I’ve had recently have been around what it is I actually do with words. Occasionally, people see my role as strictly technical, spelling/grammar focused and boring.
In fact, that’s not what I’m about at all. I will try to make written material work as effectively as it possibly can, including the mechanics of spelling and basic grammar. But I’m not here solely to try and trip people up for mistakes they’ve made. That’s not my focus.
I’m here to show empathy. Yes, empathy. That is, I like to understand your material, your reason for putting it together, and your motivation. Part of this comes from my background in historical research, where giving the past a voice and understanding long gone characters has been – and continues to be – a wonderful challenge. With empathy, I can give your words, your story and your information the best possible shot of speaking out and conveying your message effectively.
Empathy is also important in opening the world up, which is vital for everyone. I don’t mind writing/editing about football, solar power, olive growing, knitting charities or financial services (or anything, in fact). All these topics have crossed my desk recently, either in terms of me writing stories and undertaking interviews from scratch, or tweaking and polishing already existing material into a better state.
Even when the work is long and sometimes arduous, it has helped to expand my knowledge, forge connections and share some wonderful stories. I’ve had some amazing conversations, been to some great places and had the chance to help some growing enterprises in some small way.
Empathy – it’s even more than the most important word in writing…it’s the best!