Tag Archive: writing


Meeting my words

“We were taught how the pioneers went into the west. They opened their eyes and made up what things could be.”

Red means go

I suppose there’s a reason those words — courtesy of a W+K ad — hit my world this morning.  If you know what’s up in my life and the Hambrick Plan, you know that those words have special meaning.  And if you don’t, well, they apply to you and your plans more than you know.

The Short Version? Meet your plans; don’t wait for them to find you.  The Long Version follows.

A dialogue before work this morning wound its way around the spindle of writing — copywriting specifically.  I’ve managed to work in some copywriting in my present, decidedly non-copywriting position to some acclaim.  I shared that in the convo, saying that, “Sure, some point in the future, I’ll have more writing in a more front-and-center position job-wise.”

After arriving at work, my old agent from my freelancing days approached me about revisiting some evening/weekend proofreading for the ad agency JWT.  I used to proof for the agency before my current gig.  JWT is the place that basically introduced me to the possibility of copywriting for a living, thanks in large part to the advice and encouragement of the guy who’s behind this and this, and the guy who said something nice about my work  here.

Brilliant copywriting

I then chat with a friend who recently went from one copywriting contract to a perm gig, still with copywriter scribbled on her shingle at the new digs.  Whereas I, as an editor, was pining for the fjords of copywriting, she, as a copywriter, was already enjoying the view therefrom (is that a word?).  Ironically, before copywriting, she was an editor.  Hmm.  When she said that I should do what I’m drawn to, I responded, “I’m drawn to paying the bills.”

But then there, in that little quip, hid the truth: I’m drawn to make things happen with words.  I was making a joke, but it came naturally, without effort. And it made me smile.

And it encourages me to work on writing more.

A month. A whole month since my last entry.

Dear God but I missed my blog the way you’d miss a 12-step meeting: sure I could go on without, but it does me a world of good. Still 30 days without and I start to get the heebie-jeebies. And that’s something this writer likes to avoid, particularly when I enjoy writing and do it daily.

Daily, mind you … just not always on Heavy Mental.

Then it occurred to me: why not write about what I wrote about? Truth is, I’m taking a cue from Atlanta designer and illustrator extraordinaire San Smith (pink hair, genuine talent, nice person … what’s not to like?). She has a regular feature on her site dubbed “What I wore today.” Why not fashion something akin to that based on my writing? (San, imitation is flattery … Hope you don’t mind!) So, here goes:

It’s busy season for the Big Four, so work saw me proofing some financial documents. Nothing thrilling there other than finding an addition error — pretty impressive when I consider that I was absent from school the day they taught math.

But the creative writing for the day came in the form of a Facebook reply to a friend who chose to go to the gym over attending a wine tasting tonight. From a perspective not my own, I wrote:

Dear Colleen,
I wish to convey my congratulations on your willpower, gumption, and veritable self-discipline in choosing the treadmill over the tasting.
Sure, perhaps by 1 a.m., you’d find my tantalizing nose, spicy bouquet, and smooth finish would linger and lilt about your senses like a Taser(R) on low-voltage, but the gym is a wise choice. After all, there’s no day like today to do something good for your body. And besides, I’ll be mo’ bettah the longer you put me off.
Best Regards, The Chilean Shiraz

It’s after writing something like that — even when I’m ready to hit the hay — that I recall how much I enjoy writing. Yay words.

So I’ll keep on this weekly “What’d I write Wednesdays” kick and do my best to pepper the other days of the week with posts so as not to get Thursday through Tuesday riled up with jealousy and to keep my true-believer readers guessing. Here’s to (in)consistency.

That’s it for What’d I write Wednesdays … and here’s to 311 Thursday tomorrow. Awwww, YEAH!

With a nod to those three fine fellas from the five boroughs, I posted the following question on a company Facebook-type site:

“I’m wondering what importance we place on writing well, regardless of your position: Do you think about it or just write? Use spellcheck or shoot from the hip? What’s your approach to communication?”

I asked these questions because I do care about what I write – and it’s my job to care about what others write. Receiving two responses … wait, make that three (one more while I’m writing this) within two hours of posting, I was pleasantly surprised to find others who share a similar concern for the written word. One responder brought up the unfortunate trend of instant messaging and text messages contributing to “lackluster writing.” I couldn’t agree more. I mean, I’m the kind of guy who takes the time to punctuate text messages correctly.

The above posting continued: “However, it’s up to us to maintain quality.” And there it was: Quality.

This word hit me for several reasons:

  • It’s an adequate word choice for our collective responsibility.
  • Like the change of scenery and entering a new industry, one intangible that endeared my then-prospective employer to me was our tagline: “Quality In Everything We Do.” The word quality is of interest to me since ensuring quality in writing is the locus of my work.
  • The word – like the sentence that contains it – applies to so much more than writing. But I’ve already addressed that in an earlier post.

I suppose that quality in terms of writing was what drove me to that posting earlier today. Why? I write, edit, and proofread for a living, so I see the good, the bad, and the are-you-missing-keys-on-your-keyboard?!? At times, I’m encouraged by the quality of that which I edit and the text messages I read; other times, I read to my chagrin; still other times, I become nauseous.

Perhaps, after retiring, I could open up Derek Hambrick’s Institute for People Who Can’t Write Good or maybe sponsor a chain of Grammar, Spelling, & Syntax Shelters for Editors.

Until then, I seek to elevate writing’s quality. And I’m glad that others still care about it, too.