a not-so-brief note about brevity

I had to write some advertising copy today, and was reflecting on how much I struggle with that part of the job. It doesn't come smoothly or easily to me; I can do it, but a single paragraph takes an hour or so, and if I get distracted in the middle of it (as I usually do, given that I'm a work-at-home parent and an "I'll watch your kid today while you're at work if you'll watch mine tomorrow night" arrangement with several friends) I end up writing things like "sculpts wire into intricate wearable sculptures" and don't notice the ridiculous redundancy until somebody proof-reads it and asks me if I meant to sound like a broken record.

Over the years, I've tried to write more elegant descriptions of individual products, but given the fact that everything I make is one-of-a-kind and I average 20 - 50 new items a week... well, there's only so many ways I can describe a wirework pendant or necklace or earrings or whatever, and when I'm tired (which is always) the best I can usually manage is "it's swoopy and has pretty rocks and you should buy it so I can order a pizza and also maybe pay the mortgage." 

When I streamlined the photography/uploading process earlier this year, I went back to my default: a listing of the materials. There are days I wonder if that's limiting my ability to expand my customer base, because I look at Etsy sometimes and people there are writing entire novel-length descriptions of a bottle of nail polish, and here I am going "garnet, sterling silver earwires" or whatever, and feeling vaguely guilty about it, but I honestly don't know how the people on Etsy are doing it. Magic, maybe?

I could tell you that I want to let the photos do the talking (and that's certainly true) or that I don't want to interject anything into your interpretation of the piece (also true) but the truth is that when I'm uploading new items to the website I'm usually herding one or more five-year-olds (who may or may not be wearing pants and may or may not be biting)  with my phone in one hand and a bowl of cereal in the other and a cat running between my ankles and a dog chasing the cat and one of my housemates wanting to know where I keep the mop, and if I'm lucky I'm wearing pants  and if I'm really really lucky I've had a shower within the past 24 hours.

So, there you have it: you get a no-frills listing of the pretty rocks, or whatever I used, and you can look at the pretty pictures, and create your own narrative about the piece, and hopefully that's enough? In fact, I highly encourage you to do the later; I love seeing the things I make turn into prompts for poems or stories or artwork. 

(If not, you're welcome to come babysit.)

P.S. If you enjoy writing copy and have time right now to take on a small rush project (4-6 paragraphs) please talk to me, because I need to write some more blurbs for an advertising thing by next Friday. Will pay generously in shiny objects.



Comment on this post (1 comment)

  • Tibicina says...

    I don’t mind writing copy, though I mostly end up doing it for church-related things. Depends on how poetic you want it. Just figured I’d offer in case you don’t get anyone else.

    July 20, 2016

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