Inspired by china.
I’ve been to China, and there’s plenty there to inspire any writer. But this week I’m talking about porcelain.
The first, and to date only, paid writing job I’ve had was as a marketing copy writer for a retailer of kitchen and dining products.
I worked my way up through the ranks, starting as a CSR, then moving to the advertising department as an Assistant to the Director. When the Copy Writer position was posted, I was anxious about applying. It was the first time I’d shared any of my writing since college. But the previous copy writer was pretty terrible at it, which helped.
Once I got the job it didn’t take me long to realize that marketing is story-telling.
My MC might be a spatula that cost a buck twenty-nine. Or a five piece place setting of Gorham sterling silver that cost hundreds. The MC might be a grandmotherly type, let’s say a crockpot. Or a stylish, sophisticated Italian (espresso machine).
To sell the product required more than telling the consumer about wattage, warranties, and whether or not the item was dishwasher-safe. The consumer had to be romanced – made to feel that her life was incomplete without that product, or that her life would be immeasurably better with it. That she wanted to be the kind of person who owned Villeroy & Boch dinnerware or Calphalon cookware. I say “she” because the majority of our customers were women, somewhere between twenty-five and fifty-five: brides-to-be, stay at home moms, career women, empty nesters.
As with nearly every kind of story, sensory detail invites the reader in and provides her with a rich experience. So, I talked about the visual – for example, the ancient Chinese love story behind the Blue Willow china pattern. The auditory – the shrill whistle of a tea kettle signaling the tea-lover it was time to pour. The olfactory – comparing the aroma of baking bread to a hug. Touch – the satisfying weight of a Waterford lead crystal goblet. And of course, taste – imagine the shrimp scampi to be savored, once our handy shrimp deveiner had gotten rid of that unappetizing digestive tract.
I truly loved my work. It was the first time I felt any sense of creative fulfillment at a job. Part of it was because I love tableware and my art background allowed me to appreciate the aesthetics and the design history behind the items I handled every day.
But more than that, I discovered my love of telling stories.
It was a horrible shock to discover that the company had filed Chapter 11 while I was away…in China.
Please join in and tell us what has inspired your writing.
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