Here’s another PWAC Quebec Member spotlight. Today we’re showcasing Lisa Hoekstra.
Why do you do the kind of writing you do?
I am a corporate/marketing writer. My talent is mimicking voice, tone and language – so I write for companies in their brand’s voice, ensuring that all content represents them and allows their target audience to think “oh, this is [insert brand name here].”
I do a bit of article writing and journalism on the side, but it’s not my forte… writing in my own voice can be challenging after hours of being someone else!
I also write creatively… on the weekends, when my creative juices are ready to put my imagination on paper.
How do you deal with writers’ block? If you don’t experience writers’ block, why is that? What’s your secret?
Oh, the dreaded writer’s block. I get it often, regardless of what I’m writing about or the style I’m picking. Sometimes, it’s because I’m having a hard time transitioning into a client’s voice. Other times it’s because I feel like everything I’ve written is crap on a stick… or screen rather. And yet other times it’s because I’m not 100% sure how to write that particular piece.
To fix the first one, I read over the style guides, previous texts and other branded pieces so that I can get back into the head of the brand, so to speak. It usually doesn’t take long.
To fix the second, I just need to step away from the project/computer – go grab a coffee, make myself a sandwich, sit on the balcony in the sun. This lets my brain sift through all the things I want to say and form the right sentences. Then I can get back into it without any of that self-doubt lingering in there.
For the third, it’s all about the research. I will read everything and anything I can about how to write a particular form of content – like a Press Release, or a How to Piece on Optimizing SEO, whatever it is. I make notes and, as I’m researching, the content will form in my head almost naturally. It’s actually my favourite type of writer’s block to break down.
What’s the most unusual thing that you have experienced in writing, researching or interviewing for a story?
Hmmm… this is a tough one. I haven’t had that much “unusual” happen to me. Maybe the most unusual was having to interview someone in BC who didn’t have access to the internet (who doesn’t have access to the internet nowadays?)… and wasn’t available to talk on the phone. That was an interesting experience but the person was super awesome about it, answering my questions by email while he was on the ferry.
If you could interview anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Honestly? No one. I hate interviewing people. That’s why I’m not really into journalism. I much prefer a causal dinner talking about the meaning of life and what drives people to do what they do! I would love to sit down with Jane Austen, Shakespeare, Dickens or the Bronte sisters… anyone who has changed the landscape of literature.
I’d want to find out why they wrote about the topics they chose. There are so many interpretations out there about literature that it can get frustrating – what if they didn’t have any desire to comment on society! What if they were just writing because the story was in them and they needed to get it out? (That’s why I write stories, anyway!)
What made you want to join PWAC originally? What’s the best thing about being a PWAC member?
I joined PWAC because I was just starting out as a freelancer and I was told being part of a group like PWAC would help. It did! I love the workshops and the networking possibilities. I just wish I had more time to take full advantage of all the services/benefits PWAC offers.
If you were given $40,000 to fulfill a life-long dream, what would that be and why?
Oh man… I guess I’d take a year or two off of my corporate/marketing career and finish a 6-book fantasy series I’ve been building/developing for the last three years. Either that or I’d take two months off and travel the world. It’s a tough choice. One hand – I could finally put that story out of my head and get on with my life. On the other hand, I could see the world!!!
Maybe I’d do both at the same time.😉