From time to time I’m asked by a client to take an existing draft of something and “jazz it up” or even more unnerving, “wordsmith” it.
I suspect they mean to sprinkle in some adjectives, include some chic incomplete sentences, and right-justify a couple of lines. Hey presto – the piece is, well, jazzy.
If that’s what “wordsmith” means, I wonder what “blacksmith” means? I always thought a blacksmith was a big brawny guy who took a raw material (a bar of iron), tempered it in a very hot fire, and then shaped it into an object that didn’t exist before –an object ideally configured to fit its function.
Would you take old horseshoe to a blacksmith and say, “Say, this isn’t much use to me, but maybe you could stick a couple of extra bits on, and then shoe my horse with it?” Not if you value your life (not to mention your horse’s).
Yes, I’m a wordsmith. I take the raw materials (interviews and research), temper them through the fire of strategy, and then shape them into something new that does what the client needs doing. Jazzy? Maybe not. But with any luck, well-crafted and functional, with the occasional flash of something more.
So next time you think of me at work, picture a hot, dark place where flames shoot into the air. No, not that place . . .