From writing about AI to managing marketing for Spread the Word, versatility is the name of the game for 26 member Francesca Baker. This month, I asked her about her earliest memories of reading and writing, right through to what she’s working on at the moment.
We’ll be meeting a new 26 member each month. If you’d like to feature, or nominate another member, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t be shy.
Tell us a bit about yourself – where are you from and what do you do?
I’m Francesca, I live in Kent, and I do great things with words. My skillset and experience are varied – covering copywriting, journalism, marketing, research and PR – but always centred around communication and creating a connection. Ultimately, I work with words – and creating the right words to resonate with an audience.
Where did your love of words come from?
I have always loved reading and writing. One of my earliest memories was going to the library age 3 or 4, and bursting into tears when my mum told me I had to take back some of the books I’d picked out – I was only allowed twelve. My siblings and I were always being told off for being so antisocial and reading all the time. I used to write The Baker Times, which featured scoops such as ‘Daddy home from work early’ or a detailed run down of the football match we played in the back garden, then did go on to set up school newspapers. So I don’t know where it came from, but it’s always been there.
What made you join 26? And how long have you been a member?
Writing can be a solo pursuit, so it’s nice to gather with other word geeks and create some magic. I love projects, I’m a bit of a fan of doing something different and making something happen, so 26 seemed a natural home for me.
Have you been involved in any 26 projects?
The first project I was part of was the Memory Maps project, as an editor. This was lovely as it was a great opportunity to be creative and stretch different parts of my brain. The recent Centena project with the Imperial War Museum and War Child was obviously amazing, and I was so proud to be a part of this project that touched people in so many ways, weaving threads from the past to the present in a beautiful fashion.
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 can write anywhere, although my ideal place to be is always in the garden with the sun grazing my skin and a cup of coffee before 5pm, or a glass of white wine after. It’s nice to use a pencil and a moleskine, but I tend to use my old and rickety laptop more. Must get a new one soon…
What are you working on at the moment?
Recently I’ve been working on B2B reports, pharmaceutical PR, health journalism, arts marketing, direct response literary campaigns – as I say, varied, but always about getting a message out there to the right audience. I don’t have an industry niche – I’m good at researching and understanding a business and audience and crafting the communications that will work for them. Over the last year I’ve been doing maternity cover as Marketing & Communications Manager at Spread the Word, London’s writer development agency, but that’s coming to an end soon, and I’m on the hunt for something new!
Could you tell us about a piece of writing you’re particularly proud of?
I recently had a piece published on the BBC which I was pretty pleased with. I had been working with Mitsubishi about artificial intelligence and the future of motoring, so when I saw that the BBC editor was looking for pitches around this theme, it seemed sensible to use my new knowledge.
Where do you get your inspiration?
Anywhere and everywhere. I’m always jotting notes down and tapping things into my phone. Any conversation could become a piece – as friends and family have discovered! One of the things I need to do is set up a swipe file. It’s on the list!
– Sophie Gordon, Francesca Baker