Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What should I write: copy or stories?

Are you on Twitter? I am and I am enjoying it for the moment. But, although I follow lots of social media experts, I have not been luring scores of people to my website. That would take a level of intention and attention I have not yet decided to commit to Twitter.

I'm not ready for a long-term committed relationship. I am not even sure we're at the dating stage. I am still flirting with Twitter.

The same issues come up when I consider the difference between the advice I read on writing copy and the advice I read about how to tell a story. I am sure that there are differences between effective copy and copy that gets fewer positive results. And yet.

And yet. I am a conversationalist. I love long talks and I love writing that makes me feel like I am in long talk with an interesting person. Not always a close friend. . . just the kind of friendly mind that it's possible to spend time enjoying. I don't want a copy of an interesting mind - I want the real thing.

Yes, I know that "copywriting" does not mean writing a copy of someone else's thinking. Not exactly. Except - how many times do you read marketing copy and find yourself charmed, entranced, captivated? Not often.

When you do, it's possibly because even copywriters sometimes give in to the human desire to tell a great, captivating story. The kind of story that people used to mean when they talked about spinning yarns.

Yarns - as lovers of Greek myth might know - can be the stuff of life - the raw material that gets woven into the pattern of our achievement and the length of our days.

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