Our second annual global report into writing effectiveness, State of Writing 2021, is now available.

Finding inspiration in the age of exhaustion

Posted by Sarah Mitchell on 2nd February , 2021 in The Write Fit
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This is an excerpt from the 36th edition of The Write Fit, a fortnightly newsletter about writing, editing and proofreading, content marketing and good editorial practices for business, from Sarah Mitchell and Dan Hatch at Typeset.

 

Raise your hand if you were banking on 2021 for a fresh start.

I’m so sick of politics. I’m sick of the Americans. I’m sick of the Australians. As a Yankee Doodle Dandy whose permanent “home is girt by sea”, I feel qualified to express my dual-citizen exhaustion.

I’m sick of the media, especially the fearmongering, name-calling, Murdoch-style media.

I know we’re all sick of being sick, or sick of the possibility of getting sick. Far too many of us are heartsick with the inexplicable loss accompanying a global pandemic.

Regardless, I was doing pretty well until the 6 January riot at the Capitol in Washington, DC. What should have been a new chapter for America was derailed by the culmination of a five-year global campaign of disinformation.

I wasn’t one bit surprised, nor was anyone who respects the power of words. Nearly every day for more than five years has required a conscientious decision to rise above the discourse, stay focused and stay productive. It’s been a hard ask, especially for those of us working in creative professions.

A change will do you good

Sheryl Crow says a change will do you good, but even her advice is delivered with acerbic wit. Short of baking, our options for change have been limited (although I hear homemade yoghurt is the new sourdough – you heard it here first.)

What can we do, as marketers or writers, to break out of the ennui brought on by politics and pandemic?

I look to Amanda Gorman for inspiration. I was completely unaware of the 22-year-old poet laureate who performed at President Biden’s inauguration. In “The Hill We Climb”, she asks, “Where can we find light in this never-ending shade?” and nothing has felt so relevant for a long time. She advises to strive for purpose, not perfection, and to keep trying even as we tire.

Gorman was talking about preserving democracy and the human spirit, but it’s good advice for marketers, too. She’s inspired me to read more poetry and look for new authors. Reading Crow’s lyrics reminded me of long hours I used to spend poring over song lyrics and album liner notes, a thoroughly inspiring activity that’s been completely obliterated by iTunes.

In less than a week, a redirected focus on the written word has begun to lift the mental fatigue accumulated in the past year. It’s a good lesson for me and a reminder to not stray too far away from creative stimulation. Deadlines can wait, right?

Sarah Mitchell
2 February 2021

 

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