Friday, 23 March 2012

It's all about you.....

A couple of years ago I won a prize on Twitter from Rob Garner, aka @robthewriter. He offered to write something for free - so I asked for a guest blog! It was so good, I thought it was worth reposting. (Oh all right! We've had a busy week commissioning new writers, so haven't had time to write one! But we do love this post...)

Rob Garner is a freelance copywriter who writes sales copy and ads for the BBC. He has also created new strategies and concepts for several advertising agencies. You can contact him at and follow him on Twitter.
What's the most important word you can use when writing?

What jumps to mind? What do you think the most useful word to include in your writing is? Go on, have a guess. ‘Free’ is a good one. A friend of mine loves the word ‘sale’. But I discovered an even better one ten years ago at a garden party in Gibraltar.

Imagine being abroad and trying to make small talk. It’s never easy, and it’s even harder with people you’ve never met before and are never likely to meet again, people who are much older and who have completely different interests from you.

That classic fallback - the weather - has only limited longevity and then it’s awkward pause time. What would you do next?

Fortunately, inspiration flashed into mind: ‘Who else are you with?’, ‘Do you like living here?’, ‘Where do you work?’, and so on. They’re not remarkable questions and, out of context, they do sound a little bit dull. But they were lifesavers. They sparked up conversations, which led onto other topics and banished silence into a corner to sulk. And, I realised, they all had one thing in common. Or, more specifically, one small word…

It’s so versatile, it works just as well in text. And it forces you to focus on your reader (or listener), which is one of the most important things you can do as a writer. But the question is, have you worked out what the magic word is yet?

If not, take a look again. I’ve just used it 13 times... - Rob Garner

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