Storytelling, Alzheimer’s & My Writing
Along with marketing consulting, I am a professional copywriter. I've been doing some version of this for 14+ years (since I was six months pregnant with my oldest). Before going freelance, I wrote, edited and/or proofread all types of business content from 200 page manuals to marketing brochures to flyers to press releases.
One of the more popular ways to write marketing copy is storytelling. Or as they say "What is the story behind your brand?" I've been uncomfortable with using that approach, because it felt disingenuous. (I don't quibble with whether this is a useful technique or not, that's not what this post is about.) So, for years my marketing writing has focused on the needs of the target market, feature/benefit, credibility, testimonials, etc. Since I specialize in writing and marketing for business-to-business professional services, it works pretty well.
When I began writing about my father's Alzheimer's, it felt wrong to use my marketing writing approach. Noooooo, that's not right.
The only way I can write this, is to just type out (or use voice-to-text) what's in my head, edit it a little, move some of it around, and then post the damn thing. There is no way I could take it apart and reframe it in my normal business writing style. To say that would feel disingenuous is an understatement.
I guess I am just telling the stories that are in my head. The story of my Dad’s Alzheimer’s from my perspective, as the daughter who lives six hours away. The daughter who looks like him, sounds like him and loves many of same things that he does. (Or as Mom says with affectionate love and frustration “You are so much like your father.”)
Weirdly enough, writing these stories is beginning to change how I write professionally…
And somehow I'm OK with that, in part because I now trust my instincts to use storytelling in a way that feels appropriate and right.
You just never know how some things will forever change who and what you are.