Tw | Li | Em | Ph
 
PETE
SHELLY
COPYWRITER

// 01 WHO
// 02 WHAT
// 03 WHY
// 04 HOW

 
 

Legos* Taught Me How To Problem Solve.

 

 

// 01

 

// 01

Brick By Brick.

When I was growing up, we inherited a massive Lego collection from a neighbor. Thousands of pieces from different sets and time periods, all mixed together in a giant bin. There were no instructions.

So we built castles and police stations and pirate ships and airplanes from scratch, with whatever piece we found next. Sometimes, we tried to build them to match the pictures we saw on the boxes in the store, but most of the time, they were just whatever came to mind. It was always a matter of figuring it out as we went.

Today, I work in the same way. It's not to say I can't follow instructions — the amount of Ikea furniture I've built in my life is evidence of that — but that I'm much better suited for challenges where there is no established procedure, no "best practices," no roadmap. I don't like working off a template because I think the outcome then feels like something that came from a template. Doing what I do, trying to connect with audiences and create content that resonates, I don't think there's often a template that works over and over.

The castles I built as a kid rarely ever looked like the castles in the sets sold in the store, but I think I liked them better.

*Yes, I know the plural of Lego is Lego, but I've been calling them Legos for thirty years, so I don't think I can stop now. On the other hand, I did switch from "pop" to "soda" when I got to grad school.


*Yes, I know the plural of Lego is Lego, but I've been calling them Legos for thirty years, so I don't think I can stop now. On the other hand, I did switch from "pop" to "soda" when I got to grad school.

 

// 02

 

// 02

Job titles are weird things.

In the last 10 years, I’ve been a copywriter, content developer, content manager, and project manager. What’s my next title going to be? Maybe content strategist, communications director, editor, adjunct, or account manager? It doesn’t really matter to me, since the goal will still be the same:

Telling authentic brand stories in ways that connect with audiences and serve a purpose.

My experience has led me to the realization that writing is about thinking. It’s about problem solving and selling solutions. And while I enjoy writing, I’ve been honing these other skills over the course of my career, including finding creative solutions and outside-the-box alternatives when nothing seems available. Dealing with tight timelines, diverse teams, and impossible limitations.

Sometimes the answer is more writing, sometimes it’s a technological solution. Or an experience. Or just asking different questions to make sure we’re solving the right problem.


 

 

// 03

 

// 03

The Thinking.

The work matters. It's everything. I'm already there with you. And yet, there's still so much work out there that's lacking. Strategies that don't seem right, executions that don't connect, brands that just seem... lacking. Why is that? I don't think it's a matter of effort or talent, but because there are barriers standing between the initial ask and the final product.

Misallocated budgets, too many "priorities" fighting for attention, deadlines that don't take into account how long good work actually takes, pet projects that distract from the real work, unclear goals, misguided KPIs, team turnover, a lack of resources. The list goes on.

I've never worked in a place where I didn't think great work could be produced. But I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to knock down the barriers that get in the way.

 
 

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