Thursday, 26 May 2016

Words on paper

Sometimes creativity abandons its master. A muse wants to be free, and will do anything to stay that way.

Working in PR does little to help this. 

Before anyone launches into full on defence mode, hear me out. I write a lot of copy. I produce my fair share of press releases, blogs and web content, and without much thought there are words on white paper. Black ink in Times New Roman, size 12. I can type until it makes sense, and I can do it in a way which pleases everyone (or at least I hope so).

Typing everyday means that on occasion, words blur together. They don't hold much meaning, and they're just a means to an end. These words serve their purpose, and I start to search for more. Sometimes they come out violently, and at other times, arrive stiff with boredom.

Let's be frank, I love my job. That doesn't mean I have to love every piece of work I produce. Everything is well written, well edited, and well argued. The sole purpose of them is not to please me, but to fulfil the needs of my clients. There have been a handful of assignments that I have celebrated the end result of, but without the glory of a byline or recognition of a name, I don't have much to show for it.

I can deal with it. I'm getting paid to write (amongst other things), so I should count my blessings. Like I said, I love my job.

The other problem I face is that by the time I'm done in work, I have no desire whatsoever to write at home. This is a huge problem, because if I don't feel creatively satisfied with the copy I produce on a day to day basis, and if I don't write at home, then where do the words go?

No where. They just hover.

Then, they bother me. 

I can only describe it like when you swat away at flies on a sticky day. You just keep hoping they'll go away, even though their circumstances demand their survival.

I realised a while ago that I still needed my blog, if only for using it for creative expression and playing with a free form narrative. Yet, I found it particularly challenging to tap on the keys.

I could write on paper, and scribble in the safety of closed pages and smudges of ink. Yet, I couldn't publish a thing. Again, working in PR doesn't help this. Everything I do is about communicating. Too much information, or not enough, it's all down to the message. I'm starting to become quite selective about the stories that I share, despite the whole "heart on my sleeve" manta that I've become so attached to.

I've betrayed the ink on my fingers, and I've started to censor myself. I've made a very conscious effort to rectify this, because I don't believe in half truths. Every single story on my blog is something that has happened to me, and only I can recount my version. These are my fingerprints.

Despite the long absence of imagination, I was determined to put more "me" into everything I did at work. A word here and there, that would suffice. It's subtle, but it helps me justify the job.

My other (and obvious) problem is the "fluffy" side of my writing that keeps getting drilled out of me. Its a lot like losing your voice, when you're trying to break through the rough flesh of your throat.

It seemed ludicrous to me that even when I was writing to style, some of it was still considered fluff. I can admit that I am the "fluffy" one out of the group. It seems that fluff in this business is a barometer of talent, but despite that, I successfully get coverage for my clients.

At first, I was quite offended. I'm aware that I tell stories like a child around a campfire, sometimes at a whisper and sometimes clouding my tales with smoke and charcoal. Sometimes there's a bit of crackling, a touch of sound and detail. I like adjectives, and I like emotive language. I'm aware there is a time and a place for this.

That's not to say I'm not good at what I do, because I am. I just fight for creativity within creative industries, and my argument that we should never rest on our laurels. Just because something has always been done a certain way doesn't mean it always has to stay the same. Writing is a unique blend of science and art, so why abandon the colour of it?

I'm also aware that very few people relate to the cultural significance of a personal essay, or the weight of confessional writing. These words belong in the little cities of the internet, in the citadels of human beings. These words belong here, where I can protect them.