Writing and Running: the unexpected ties that bind us
Writing and running. Two words that sum up how I survived lockdown: for varying reasons and with greater or lesser challenge each time but always to the undeniable benefit of my mental and physical health.
And I know I’m in good company here, with Nuffield Health reporting that three quarters of Brits took up a new form of exercise during the COVID-19 crisis. Indeed, has there ever been a better time to release that best-selling novel that lives within us all?
It was multi award winning Japanese writer Haruki Murikami who beautifully intertwined these apparently unrelated pursuits as ‘exerting yourself to the fullest within your individual limits’ in his book What I talk about when I talk about running. He describes how being active every day makes it easier to hear that inner voice. You know, the same one that pops into your head with a devasting response to convert your doubters or win over potential new clients, if only it had spoken up at the time!
It’s that same inner voice that instinctively knows just how much you can offer your clients or customers but translating those words into communications that deliver results is where many of us need a bit of extra help. Top ten tips such as these from Stuart Bruce are a great way to channel that inner voice in the right direction during the most uncertain of times.
On a lighter note, my favourite childhood writer, A.A. Milne adopted a gentle and meditatively calming approach to reminding millions about the importance of looking after your mind and body in equal measure, especially when times are testing and it’s all too easy to doubt yourself. As Piglet told Pooh;
I don’t even remember first hearing these words but, just like the finest writers of all time, the genius of the message is in its simplicity. Milne didn’t deal in ‘fancy’ language or heavy-handed lessons. But somehow, his expertly crafted words and engaging storytelling carried his readers – of all ages – along in an effortless and unforgettable journey.
Content Writing for your Business
In my role as a freelance writer, I use words to bring your story, brand or vision alive in a way that stays with readers for the long-run (pun fully intended). Just as ‘running bores’ are more likely to turn you off the hobby than on, effective copy writing is not about preaching, teaching, selling or unwelcome sermons. It’s about creating content which helps you to market or ‘exert yourself to your fullest potential’, across key communications platforms according to your unique objectives. And, perhaps most importantly, it’s about writing that your audience will take pleasure in reading. Whether that is through a blog post, newsletter or editorial feature.
Consider, for example, my attitude to physical activity.
If you were to rewind a couple of decades to my younger self, anyone aiming to ‘sell me’ the benefits of running – not just for a taxi – but 2 – 3 times a week would be facing what is described in marketing terms as the impossible brief.
This is the girl who would do anything to avoid the school sports field and saw ‘runners’ as a strange species who pound the pavements at all hours with painful grimaces and sweat dripping from every pore. Where’s the fun in that?
Fast forward just a few years and that same girl will tell you that there is no more rewarding freedom than pulling on her trainers and escaping from the responsibilities of motherhood and life-at-large during a solid 10km run around my beautiful corner of Scotland. I don’t run to be ‘a runner’ or to achieve a PB or to lose weight (although I wouldn’t reject any of these). I run for the simple joy of being in the open air and feeling my lungs and heart getting a little bit stronger with each step.
And when I’m faced with an exciting new client brief– however seemingly complex or challenging it first appears – my approach is equally simple. Just as we learn the most important life lessons from some of the simplest tales we hear as children.
It begins with gaining a deep understanding of your target audience – what makes them tick? What are their ‘pain points’ and how can you reach out to them and convince them to let you make their life that little bit easier?
Nowadays we are spoilt for choice with regards to communication channels. We can blog, vlog, tweet, tag and a multitude of other fantastically immediate options. Call me old-fashioned but – as we Tik Tok and Insta our way through life’s twists and turns, I believe that the fundamentals of powerful story-telling cuts across all channels.
So, whether your needs are more Haruki Murikami or Winnie the Pooh, I would love to hear from you soon.
Allison Meldrum is a Freelance Writer and Communications Consultant with experience in Health, Well-being and Fitness sectors
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