Ordinary People Have Superpowers
Even if they are not Power Rangers ...
Posted on: 18/07/2013 By: Judith Halliday
We've all wondered what it would be like to have superpowers. To be able to morph, like the Power Rangers, into anything we needed to be in order to get done what needs doing. Despite never being recognised as having them, I find myself in two main roles in life that require exactly that kind of superpower. I'm a journalist and a mother. And they're quite similar, when you think about it ...
Can you morph into anything you need to be in order to get done what needs doing?
As a mother, just a handful of my specialist skills are cook, washerwoman, maths wizard (well up to and including Key Stage One), cycling tutor, fancy dress costume maker, home help, personal shopper, first aider, counsellor, banker, party planner, taxi driver, storyteller... sometimes all at the same time.
The most important superpower a parent possesses is psychic power. That little voice inside your head that tells you when a packed lunch has been forgotten, a drink is going to fall over, or a party invitation is in the bottom of a bag, long before anyone else, particularly the child, notices.
In my working life, just like with my children, I need to be whatever the client wants me to be. I've been an expert on thermal heat pumps, commercial property, freight forwarding, print solutions, car park management, health treatments and safety training. And that's just this week.
That's the skill of a journalist and copywriter. To turn your hand and your mind to whatever is put in front of you, adopt a persona that exudes knowledge and understanding, and make sure you get all the facts you need before you set about producing a piece of work.
Most of the time, it's quite straightforward. I tell my clients to think of me as their customer. If I want to know it, their customers will want to know it. If I understand it, their customers will understand it. And if I think that's going into something in unnecessary depth, then so will their customers.
That's why, sometimes, the last people who should be writing about a company are those within the company. They know things other people don't need to know and often miss the important bit of the message they need to get out there.
Just one place up the list, are people who have no copywriting background or training. Yes, someone in accounts has probably told you they're "good at that sort of thing" - they're usually not. Unless they're a Mighty Morphin Power Ranger in disguise.
Until next time ...
My writing career began under the bright lights of Gateshead in 1986 - who wouldn't love a job that offered the chance to listen to Gateshead Borough Council's Public Waste Committee debate the introduction of wheelie bins for three hours? It was the start of a working life that taught me what makes a good story and how to tell it and, although I don't have a news editor lurking ready to throw things at me any more, or so much of an interest in wheelie bins, my love of writing and a fascination with talking to people and telling their stories is as strong as ever.
Today I work for Business Times in Northampton and the Northants Evening Telegraph as well as providing copywriting services and press releases for a number of local companies.
When I'm not doing that, I indulge in the things I love most, which include, in no particular order: my teenage children, Sunderland football club, my husband, chocolate, QI, Chinese noodles, my closest friends, Test Match Special, red wine, reading in bed, The Sound of Music and growing vegetables.