Guest blog from Rachel Williams, professional copywriter.
Serendipity is a wonderful word and I love it when I can actually find reason to use it. In the first few months of 2015 I have enjoyed a few serendipitous experiences through the work that has come my way. Funny little coincidences have always seemed to happen in my line of work – writing about a rubber roofing system for flat roofs (of which I had zero knowledge at the outset of the project!) and then being able to confidently advise a friend whose extension roof had all but expired – but the most recent ones have seemed particularly striking.
First of all, there was the Oakley Hall Hotel project, a lovely job to do – writing the content for the venue’s website, which was relaunching to coincide with completion of major refurbishment of the property. The new look is fantastic, very modern and contemporary, just right for 21st century guests, but what I was really, really excited about was its literary connections. Novelist Jane Austen lived nearby and was a regular visitor to Oakley Hall. She is a writer I’ve always admired for her use of language and wry observation of characters and 19th century society. Mansfield Park was one of the texts I studied for my English Literature A Level, so I loved the fact that Austen based the character of Lady Bertram on Oakley Hall’s then lady of the house, Mrs Bramston. And when I discovered that the grounds still retain its ha-ha (go on, Google it!) the pages of Mansfield Park came flooding back and my imagination set to work, wondering if Jane might have been inspired in those very grounds to employ the ha-ha as a symbolic plot device.
Next up is Gunnersbury Park in London. Many moons ago I lived in one then another property overlooking the park. Okay, when I moved to the second house it did mean I was living on the North Circular but, hey, I was merely a footbridge away from one of London’s loveliest parks, with its mansion house, temple and crumbling stable block. I spent many a warm summer’s day lying in that park, reading or people watching. I spent a little less time running round its perimeter, urged on by my male housemates who never seemed to get a stitch. And I spent one glorious late night (again urged on by those same housemates) clambering over the locked gates to play in deep, freshly fallen snow – just the three of us in the still of a white winter’s night. So when the opportunity to write content for Gunnersbury’s website came up, I made sure the client knew they had the right person for the job. I just didn’t mention my little winter adventure!
My Gunnersbury days didn’t quite mark the end of the flirtation with running, having babies is probably what finally did it! But in a previous post I talked about discovering a love of cycling and that has continued unabated – even through the winter months. So how delighted was I when Sarah mentioned that she wanted me to write for a company that sells cycling kit! Now that kind of serendipity is what makes work fun. I’m being paid to write about something that I am rather obsessed with, I can write with good understanding of the target audience (I am the target audience!), I can contribute ideas. Working for this particular client is my writing equivalent of a Sunday afternoon spin on the bike for an invigorating and satisfying workout. Love it!
So would it be too much to hope that, as I prepare for my annual ski trip, the phone may ring or an unexpected email might pop into my inbox requesting my copywriting services for something with altitude? Now wouldn’t that be perfect…