A friend recently asked me to name my passion. We were having a general discussion about good topics for creative non-fiction writing and brainstorming ideas. Without pausing to give it much thought, I answered, “equality and diversity”. Her reply was interesting and not altogether surprising. She said that the very word ‘diversity’ said in a room full of people was guaranteed to send them all to sleep. I couldn’t disagree. She had a point. It wasn’t that she didn’t care – on a very basic level, most people care about unfairness – it was just that she understood the immense power words have (and she should being a lecturer on the highly regarded Professional Writing MA at Falmouth University). The right combination of words will make your audience sit up and take notice. The words you choose of course depends on your audience, the people occupying the room.
Over time, people can become inured to the everydayness of language deployed to interest and inspire them. As a term, ‘equality and diversity’ has been around for a while and these days it means more on a business level than it does on an individual level, unless of course you have had direct or indirect experience of discrimination. If the room full of people in question had all at some point in their lives been victims of injustice, unfairness, inequality or discrimination, the words I described as my passion, would have engaged them on an emotional level. And as a writer, that is often my starting point.
I’ll be posting more about this in future blogs and how as a speechwriter, learning as much as I can about my audience helps the writing process.
By Sonya Thomas