Saturday, February 27, 2010

Are writers the real visionaries?

I've spent most of my professional life writing stuff for one reason or another. Speeches, editorials, strategy papers, government submissions, adverts, the list goes on. Occasionally, inspired pieces that I have written has been presented or published under other people's names. Some of it has been recognised with 'quote of the week' in mainstream media, or speech material originating from me has been published word for word in major publications under someone else's byline.

Now this is not a gripe session. This is the lot of any writer-for-hire, but what astonishes me is the number of these things that I have written without any briefing at all on the subject from the person who will ultimately 'author' the document. No input to the vision, no indication of their line of thinking. There are writers all over the place who experience the same thing. At the highest levels, the entire visions of governments and multinational corporations are scribed by some humble, nameless subjects in the dark recesses of the executive - visions they dream up over a good glass of red or three at home.

There are a few exceptions. In the early days, our prime minister, Kevin07 penned his own speeches. However, I suspect he's running short of time to do that now he has to don the overalls and crawl through ceilings to check out dodgy insulation installed by shonks cashing in on the GFC-inspired vision to insulate a million Australian homes. Thank God I didn't write the speech announcing the vision behind that program! Meanwhile, former climate change lieutenant, Peter Garrett, is no doubt burning the Midnight Oil to ensure the Japanese whaling fleet is far enough offshore to prevent Kev commandeering a spare harpoon to train on him.

But back to my point - how much of the vision that ultimately charts our destiny, whether in business, government or local community life, is actually created by people we don't even know? How many of our venerated community and business leaders would be rendered mute by both lack of vision and writing skills if it weren't for the squadrons of former journalists creating for them?

No wonder a lot of us end up in creating the values and vision behind brands.

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