The Write Stuff

The write stuff

Writing is the skill of many, but the talent of few, and yet because all of us learn to write from a young age it seems that sometimes it’s considered as not being worth paying someone a salary to do.

It says a lot about a country when a skill like writing, which let’s not forget is used in every corporate document, company manifesto, business plan, advertising campaign, brand identity, review ; every song, film, tv show, computer game; every single internet page and email, right down to that text message reminding you to get milk on the way home, is undervalued.

Words are what allows this world to function, for business to progress, and for us to communicate even at the most basic level. So why the hell are we still being offered unpaid internships, and opportunities to ‘build our portfolio’ instead of a monthly wage?

You wouldn’t ask a doctor to take on a six-month unpaid internship after qualifying from university, so why should you expect the same from me because I’m a writer? Because everyone’s trying to get into the arts/creative industries? So what you think it’s appropriate to milk that ambition to your own ends? You can argue about sorting the wheat from the chaff, or essentially the keyboard-killers from the pointless-hitters, but surely that can be done through CV, interview, and a quick look at an existing portfolio.

That leads me onto my other point, where internships or work experience are offered it’s unfairly skewed to those who live in the immediate area. Often that’s London, and that means you either have to pack in your job, move there, and hope you get picked out before the money runs out, or you have to be lucky enough to have parents who already live in the vicinity or are well off enough to bankroll you whilst you’re there.

Well I’m sorry but in the real world very few people have the luxury of quitting a full-time paid position to pursue an opportunity, which likely as not won’t result in anything at the end except your quick dismissal and the rolling in of the next eager youngster. Instead of employing interns, why don’t you try offering real jobs, even part-time positions, that real people can have a shot at.

If we gave up writing overnight as a society, as a country, as a planet, how far do you think we’d get… if there were no words, where would we be? For a start choosing your dinner in the supermarket would turn into a fun game of trying to guess what might be in each brightly coloured tin. And a hospital trip could get interesting when no-one can make a note of what medication you’re on, how often you need it, or whether you’ve been given it. Best to neck all the pills all the time just to be safe. You could sit back and watch a film… ah but cause no-one could write a script or contracts for the actors there isn’t any. Read a book? Ha now you’re just being silly.

Ok so I’ve exaggerated, but not too wildly. I just want to world to sit up and take notice of the fact that writing is a damn sight more important than just getting words order the in right. Hey Mr Dictionary, you got any in there that come with a few numbers and zeros attached?

Kirsty Birkett-Stubbs

Freelance writer. Most likely found in a mosh pit. Or maybe Bat Country.

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