When clever ain’t cool

My partner in crime told me this morning that my original title of this blog, The Mercenary Wordsmith, was not a great one, because it didn’t represent who I am. I pondered that notion for a bit, and remembered that I don’t offer up this particular pile of words on behalf of someone; I do it because I love to write, and I love to tell stories.

For someone who has spent the better part of his life sitting at conference room tables speaking truth to power, I should have known better. I was guilty of the very thing I am annoyed by the most; not using the RIGHT words.

Example: If you’re a classic rock station, call yourself THE CLASSIC ROCK STATION. Everybody knows what that means. No ambiguity at all.  But no, we seemingly always have to find something more catchy, more clever… to somehow justify that glorious title bestowed upon us by our mistresses and masters of workplace America.

I’m John. I write short stories. Ding. Duh. Done.

The era of advertising is coming to a close. Pitchpeople and sloganeering are out. Everyday commercials try to get us to laugh, and sometimes succeed, but with the exception of Bud Light and Sportscenter (and a few others), I fear that the product and its benefit often gets lost in the punchline.

A thoroughly modern way to raise awareness about a product, service or person is to tell a story about it. A narrative, that feels real, using people who are believable: people like us.  To ask me to design a social media/broadcast campaign that tells a story is to watch my pupils dilate and my heart rate increase. I love words. I like learning new ones, concocting phrases with them, and selling ideas, concepts and, well, myself with them. 

The next step in my wonderful, exhilarating, unique career will be crafting words to inform employees about what’s what, and why; to message stakeholders and players and customers on what’s happening; to turn the perfect phrase, for fun and mutual profit.

Thanks for reading my stories, my words. I have a truckload full of ’em. Now that I got the name right, you’ll read later this week about an adventure I am about to embark on. A journey I have been waiting all of my working life to take, one that might make you a little bit jealous (in the best possible way). Perhaps I can convince you to change your life, for the better.

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