Saturday, 4 April 2009

The Writer's Apprentice

I've just got back from my first two-week stint of my apprenticeship with language consultancy firm The Writer.

They took me out for coffee and let me ask lots of questions. They also asked me lots in return. After all, fair's fair.

I loved the buzz in the office. Oh, and the cake. They're all rather fond of cake. Which can only be a good thing as far as I'm concerned. I met clients, sat in on a tone of voice workshop and participated in a couple of naming brainstorms.

And then they put me to work.

Time to put theory into practice. I worked with several people in the team, helping out with projects for major clients. This gave me an insight into the type of work they do and the process from initial brief to finished copy.

I enjoyed having my own briefs to work on. It's quite a different experience working on a live brief, rather than an assignment. For one thing, you don't have the luxury of time. No procrastination. (I might have made tea a couple of times, but that's just fulfilling the requirements of any work experience assignment).

Then came the feedback. Seeing my creative efforts covered with red pen was a new experience. At school, generally I just got a tick at the bottom of my work. But the last few months of critiquing have shown me that you need to use whatever you can to help improve what you write. You can't be precious about your writing.

Everyone gets someone else to look at their copy. Often, there are things you can't see yourself because you're too close to it. Another pair of eyes always helps. Sometimes I was called on to be that extra pair of eyes - and they were interested in what I had to say. Perhaps for the first time, I felt like a writer, not a student.

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