I’ve had the opportunity over the last few days to discuss my writing process at length – specifically my process of writing for other people. I talked to interviewers, friends, clients and writers-to-be…
One of those times, the conversation was with a brilliant photographer named Randi Baird. I was asking her about her process of documentation through pictures for a presentation she’s giving. I listened to her talk and wrote this from our exchange:
I marinate in the ideas before I photograph for an article; then, I illustrate the author’s words. Working with chefs, the ingredients become the colors, tools, shapes, textures within an image. Documenting a family, the ingredients are the personalities, the ages, the setting, the history. In each case, we all benefit from collaboration, communication, the strengths of our individual visions…and their fusion.
After she read it, she said, “You’re really good!” And I said, “No you are…you said it!!!” True, I wordsmithed it. But it was her energy, personality, intention, words and phrasing that served as the ingredients for writing the piece.
Here’s my process:
1. Meet with my client in person or on the phone for an hour or two and ask them tons of questions. Making it easy, natural, conversational.
2. Listen to them talk about themselves, their business, industry, goals, mission, philosophy.
3. Hear the words and phrasing that they use and the way that they talk – inflections, emphasis, accent, colloquialisms, industry-isms.
4. Marinate in all of this…especially their personality, energy, essence, je ne sais quoi…
5. Take notes, audio or video record – whatever it takes.
6. Find out what information needs to be relayed and to what audience. I like to do this oftentimes in the form of questions. And I ask the client directly for an answer – let them share their expertise.
7. I answer the questions, solve problems, inform and illustrate in the copy I create.
8. When writing as a ghostwriter / marketing writer, it’s like being an actor in a play – I become the character, channel their voice…and deliver.
What’s your process?
Image credit: Chotda