Writing as a Practice

Writing as a practice

Dale: Our perspective on the company keeps evolving. One day we were talking after a client meeting and it came to us that what we have is a practice. The idea clicked instantly, and we’ve spent a lot of time since then defining what that means for ourselves, our team and our clients.

Andrew: Writing is often described as a craft or an art: ‘practice’ gets applied to other fields — law, medicine, accounting. But we see ourselves as creative practitioners.

Dale: Our practice is our organization and how we do things within it. It involves discipline, process and standards, and it’s built on experience. After 15 years, we’ve learned important lessons about how to approach the work, organize for execution and maintain consistent quality with a full slate of projects underway.

Andrew: The Ivar Jacobson website is a good example of that. We had to bring 200 pages of content down to 80, and in the process reposition the company. Getting the job done involved more than writing great web copy. We were dealing with a distributed executive in Canada, Sweden, the UK and the U.S. — and with complex technology content. Before we started writing, we had to evaluate the existing material, map it against the new IA and validate it with subject-matter experts.

Dale: For every form of marketing writing we have a process — web copywriting, annual reports, technology white papers, even for proofreads of long manuscripts.

Andrew: And each one is based on our appreciation of the unique requirements.

Dale: We’re fortunate to have the sheer volume of experience we do. Malcolm Gladwell calls it practical intelligence — the idea that it takes 10,000 hours of practical experience to become expert.

Andrew: The same applies to hockey, piano, yoga…

Dale: …and dance. You have to start with talent, but with practice and discipline your skills become automatic; you start to see beyond yourself and really apply what you know.