This month, one of 26’s co-founders shares an insight into her writing life, and why swapping your desk for a paddle-board might be worth a try…
Tell us a bit about yourself – where are you from and what do you do?
Cambridge, Boston, Massachusetts but I was educated and grew up in London and live in Torquay now. I’m an employee communications consultant now although I started life as a journalist before abandoning the press and joining Orange to lead the verbal identity of the brand. Although the focus was on consistency of marketing messages, it always started with ensuring internally everyone aligned. That’s why I eventually got more involved with internal communications.
Where did your love of words come from?
My father always read and was a good thinker, but it was my mother who was really good with words. And as I got older and cheekier, she would turn my words around and use them to teach me a lesson. I’m guessing it started from there…
What made you join 26? And how long have you been a member?
I’m actually a co-founder. We were originally just 6! We discovered each other after we featured in an article written about tone of voice. In 2002/3, tone of voice didn’t have the recognition it has today and there were even fewer roles that focused on it.
Have you been involved in any 26 projects?
In the earlier days, yes. I tried to participate and support as many as I could as there were so few of us.
What’s your ideal scenario for writing? (A coffee shop? Quiet retreat? With or without music? What do you do to get yourself in the right frame of mind?)
I wish it were that straightforward. There is no once place (or type of place) for me. Inspiration can hit anywhere at any time. Some of my best thinking has happened while paddle-boarding. And I once had a fantastic brainwave in the middle of a talk I was giving to 150 construction workers!
What are you working on at the moment?
A strategic communications plan for a client that has an internal issue with health and safety and the way their employees perceive its importance. Or so they think. The issue is messaging around safety, but that’s another story.
Could you tell us about a piece of writing you’re particularly proud of?
I wrote several poems on a Dark Angels course in Spain back in 2006 – really surprised myself and to this day I can still recite them even though I haven’t seen them in years.
Where do you get your inspiration?
The course itself helped me to think differently about how I approached my writing but it was the location that inspired me the most. It’s amazing what a change of scenery can do for you.