How would you describe your writing style?
With whatever I write, my preference is always to keep it fun, light, and friendly. I have a strong dislike of ‘legal-speak’ in business writing and long-winded explanations for things. I find it’s best to let your writing sound natural, as if you’re talking with a friend. If I were to describe my style in one word, it would be ‘playful’.
What are your tips for overcoming writer’s block?
Ah yes, the dreaded writer’s block! It strikes all of us at times, especially when you’ve been contracted to write something for money rather than doing it for personal enjoyment. A lot of my magazine-writing gigs have tight deadlines, so I can’t rely on ‘feeling’ like writing all the time. I just have to knuckle down and do it. It’s amazing how once you get started; the rest flows. Something I often do if I’m feeling stuck is make an outline. Write the intro and write the headings. This gives me a framework and then I fill in the gaps. I also set myself personal challenges with a reward – if I write say 500 words then I get to take a break and have a treat.
Is there something you’ve written that you’re especially proud of?
When you look back at previous writing it’s hard to not think about how you could have improved it. But two projects I’m proud of are my children’s books – Button Thief, which I self-published, and Abigail Knightly, which will be released with RSVP Publishing next month.
Where do you see writing (as a career option) heading in the next 3-5 years?
I see print becoming less and less relevant, with magazines, newspapers, and the publishing industry all focusing on having an engaging online presence. I think the need for skilled web copywriters will continue increasing. Today’s businesses understand the importance of having a website, and these websites all need copy written and kept up to date. I think today’s journalists will need to upskill in SEO (search engine optimisation) in order to write not just for human eyes but also for search engine robots. Writing is an incredibly useful skill; I have a number of friends who run their own successful copywriting businesses and I think there’s plenty of room for more.
What are you reading at the moment?
I just finished reading Every Bastard Says No – the rollicking back-story of Kiwi start-up success 42 Below. It was an early birthday present from my fiancé and I loved it. Now I’ve started reading Altruism by Matthieu Ricard (French translator for the Dalai Lama). It’s a massive book, and very thought-provoking so far – might take me a couple of weeks to get through it!
Latesha is the editor of Arrival magazine and will be talking about writing for travel magazines at Word Cafe. Catch her session on Sunday 16 August 2015, 9.30am-10.30am in the Raglan Town Hall.