Why Don't More Creative Business People Read Fiction?

Here's a question I ask every candidate I interview: What's the last great book you read?

Catch: It can't be a business book.

It always stumps them.

Some of them are honest: "I don't read fiction. But, I just got done reading a new book about Jeff Bezos ...."

Me: (Inward sigh)

I wish this only happened when I was talking to young recruits, new to marketing, eager to show me their dedication to learning business from the greats. But it's not. I can't even tell you how many CEOs, presidents, entrepreneurs, managers, designers, developers, and even fellow copywriters that have confessed to me that they don't read fiction.

They offer a variety of reasons why. All of which I consider bullshit.
I don't like fiction.  Bullshit. Do you watch movies? Television? Those are fiction. (Even the "reality" shows are scripted.) If you don't like reading fiction, it's because you're not reading good fiction. 
Or, it's because you know

National Poetry Month Challenge

Inspired by Unthinkable podcast episode "Just Ship It," I decided to set a National Poetry Month challenge for myself. One poem every week day. I'll update this blog with new poems every now and then, so I have an archive of all the poems at the end.

*Trigger Warning

An argument instigates
A misunderstanding
Fueled by liquor
and bitter impotence

A challenge
I didn’t see it his way
I didn’t see it coming
The gauntlet thrown

I am facedown
Like a slap, like a shot
Choking on the sheets
We’ve shared

His weight
Crushing my resistance
His hands
Willing my submission

For a moment, a breath
I am stunned -- paralyzed prey
An eternal second
An unspent scream

Then, muscle memory kicked in:

Waking up
There is a boy I knew, I loved
Inside my bed
Inside of me

And the smell of alcohol
From his sweat
And my breath
Filling the room

A miasma of shame
and guilt
and defense
We never spoke of it

What happened
Had happened before:

Nervous, new lover
Moving together
Toward our destination

A barrier, …

Hey Copywriter ... How are Your Photoshop Skills?

I've noticed an increase in the number of job posting and freelance gigs that call for a copywriter to also do some level of image creation or design work. I've been asked more than once, "How are your Photoshop skills?"

Me? Photoshop?


I know sites like Canva and PicMonkey make the process of creating images a lot easier, but I still have a few issues with this trend.

#1 It seems to be a one-way street. 
I haven't run across a lot of designers being asked to write copy. And you know why? Because designers are notoriously bad at writing copy. No offense, designers. You guys are amazing at what you do. I have nothing but respect for your skills, because Lord knows I don't have them. But I've yet to meet a great designer who was also a decent copywriter. So why are writers suddenly being asked to pull double duty?

My suspicion is that people value copywriters a little less than designers. Why? Because we're all taught how to write in school, but…

When Scammers Go Fishing in Mama Bear Country

8:15 a.m. Baby Girl and I had just started to wake up. This is my favorite time of day. She's smiling, giggling, snuggly. We're warm and cozy in bed together. The day is nothing but possibilities. And then the phone rings. The home phone. Which nobody ever calls and we have only so I can call 911 if there were ever an emergency.

"This is a notice that the IRS have filed a lawsuit against you. Please call 207-693-8051 to resolve this matter immediately."

Hubby and I do owe money from our 2015 tax returns, but a lawsuit? It must be a mistake, I think to myself, as I dial the number.

The man who answers says his name is Jack Brown. He has a thick accent that leads me to believe he wasn't born Jack Brown, which alerts me something is amiss. He is very angry, which also sets my Spider Sense tingling. He is going to explain everything to me, and instructs me not to interrupt. He says that the IRS has found "fraudulent details" in my tax records dating back t…

3 Customer Service Lessons From Delta

Earlier this month, Baby Girl and I flew from Florida to North Dakota to visit Daddy. He's working up there while there's boom money to be made, and has been gone for two months this time. The travel time was eight hours, a long day even without a six month-old, but we were optimistic. It was going to be an adventure. Baby's first flight! 
Searching for a sign  Our first flight left Tampa at 5:00 am, so we arrived at the airport at 4:00. Checking our bags would only take a minute, I figured. Who else would fly so early?  There were no employees at the counters. None. Nada. Zip. And no one in line knew why. People finally gave up and went to the curbside baggage check-in. I did get a response to that tweet.  Awesome, Delta. Thanks for the info. This could have been easily avoided with a little planning and a few pieces of paper. Signs at the counters would have saved travelers precious time and help to avoid a negative brand experience.  Tip: Communicate clearly and often to set…

My New Title is Mommy: The pay sucks but the benefits are great.

For Baby Girl's half-birthday (six months), I'm giving her the gift of time. My time. I'm leaving my full-time position to become a full-time mom. 
When I went back to work in December, I knew I wanted to work from home. It's a 90-minute commute to our office in Sarasota, and neither I nor Baby Girl liked that drive. Leaving her at home was out of the question for me. She had never learned to take a bottle, and I wasn't going to shock her into taking one by leaving her hungry for hours with a stranger. 
Working from home, part-time, with flexible hours, worked. My employer was awesome during my transition into maternity leave and equally awesome transitioning me back. 
I couldn't work and entertain Baby Girl, so I hired a nanny. Luckily, by that point she had started to cut teeth and was ready for her first foods. We supplemented my nursing schedule with the nanny feeding her cereal, which allowed me to leave the house for a few hours. 
Nannies are amazing, an…

The Year in Ads: 2015

As much as I pick on advertising, I do love commercials. Or, I guess I should say I love the potential of commercials. Video is an incredibly engaging medium for content, and until DVR technology came along and let us fast-forward through them, TV commercials were a great vehicle to deliver your brand and product directly into the homes of millions of viewers.

There are two problems with commercials these days. One is the aforementioned DVR technology, and the other is creative laziness. I'm pretty sure that latter spurred the creation of the former. Think about it, if commercials were better, were more like thirty second stories, wouldn't we be more inclined to sit through them? Sitting in front of the boob tube is one of the most passive activities known to man. It burns fewer calories than reading. We have to break from our near-comatose state in order to skip the commercials.

During my maternity leave, I watched a lot of commercials. I've put together a list of the one…