The following was originally run October 8, 2009. We need to run it more than just every couple years.
Have you ever asked a blogger why? Did you get an answer? Did you get an honest answer? You wanted to know why they did it. You cannot believe that so many people have that big an ego. Could they really consider their pontificating so profound?
Or is the answer very simple. Take the case of this blog. What is it all about? Why call Barrie, Ontario Babel? Simple answer: I am a professional writer. As a writer, I am available for hire. I write for people who pay me. If someone needs a writer to produce a speech, a lecture, a presentation, a brochure, a résumé, a book, a script, a poem or a posting for twitter, I am your ghost. The web site babelonthebay.com is a sampler. It showcases my wares.
It helps that I love writing.
I also make it easy for people who wish to hire me. Take a speech, for example. All you need to tell me is to whom you will be speaking, what is the subject and if you are for it or against it. You can tell me more if you wish but I am mindful of the time a client gave me a two-hour explanation of a 15-minute speech he needed. He was angry when he read my first draft. “This is just what I told you,” he blustered. “What have you contributed?” I thought I had done an excellent editing job.
And then there are clients who are not interested in your view. I was once offered more than twice my normal rate for a 50-minute lecture a client was giving at an American university. The reason for the higher rate was that the client was extremely rightwing politically. The client might have got a standing ovation for his speech but I deserved every penny of that fat fee for fiction writing.
Hands up everyone who thinks all business people write their own presentations. Those of you with your hands up; you must also believe in the tooth fairy. When I started writing presentations for others, we were still using slide shows. PowerPoint makes life much easier.
Modern low-cost, on-demand publishing has given impetuous to the world of business book ghost writing. It has reached a point that if you open a restaurant, the opening can be shared with the introduction of your new book of recipes that is a regular reminder of a good place to eat out. You have an auto parts firm, so you produce a book of tips on doing minor auto repairs. No matter what your business, there is a book that can be written that reminds people that they should deal with you because you are the expert. Just leave the writing to an expert at writing.
I am not sure I want to resume writing résumés. I used to brag that nobody I wrote a résumé for ever failed to land a suitable job. Today, it is necessary to qualify that bravado. One problem is that younger people do not trust someone my age to know their audience. And they might be right. Today, there are many barriers to getting your résumé to the person with whom you really need to communicate. I still believe in my résumés but I am losing touch with those barriers. It is becoming more of a team effort.
Poetry is something else. I tend to inflict it only on friends and family. While they are not always enthusiastic about my poems, they are kind.
What some people say is missing from this sampler blog is humour. I apologize for that. I have been accused of being a bit capricious with whimsy. That is the reason that I refer to Barrie as Babel. I think Barrie gets a bad rap. Babel is a more whimsical place, more open and accepting. Babel seeks challenges and opportunities. Barrie is a harsher, colder environment, full of potholes and bars, hockey players and hookers. (Yah, I know, your sister plays right wing.)
But I love twitter. This is a venue where writers can shine. Effective tweets are full of alliterative allusions, weighty words of wisdom and devoted to doggerel. It is a medium that eschews whole sentences while demanding clarity. It is in twitter where everybody knows your name but not the name of your writer. Can you imagine a writing gig that pays you to write less than 280 characters a day? It’s golden!
And one last comment about the art: Writing to precisely fill a column is a big part of a writer’s training. A column is usually limited to an average of 800 words. As is this one.
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