Ernest Hemingway would have been a terrible proposal writer.
There are two faces to the craft of writing.
On one side, you have the creative writer, head in the clouds, flirting with the muse of inspiration.
On the other side, you have the technical writer, the copywriter, the business communication professional. Still dreaming with creativity but tasked with a specific goal. Often with a crunchy deadline.
These are two equally important skill sets, and they don’t often reside in the same brain. They typically require different environments, different tools, and different approaches.
Why do you need to recognize this difference?
If you’re hiring a “writer,” you certainly need to know which type will suit your requirements best.
- Are you going to enforce quick deadlines?
- What’s the reading level of your audience?
- Is the person going to work in a team environment, or solo?
If you’re sitting down to write, you need to consider the end goal.
- Can you bust out your flowery adjectives or do you need to keep it simple?
- How much time does your reader have to absorb the piece?
- What’s the context? Is your piece going to be part of a master communication plan that requires a specific voice or message?
- Are you trying to entertain, educate, both?
If you’re teaching someone to write, you must think about both facets of the craft.
- Are you going to assign your student a timed essay or have them polish and edit a piece over a long period of time?
- What tools will they use? Pen and paper? Professional writing tools like Scrivener, Evernote, or something else?
- Who are they writing for? What’s their mission?
- Will they be required to come up with their own topics, or will they be assigned writing tasks?
Which writer are you?
Featured image via Flickr CC: thierry ehrmann