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What Fay Weldon Learned About Creative Writing in an Ad Agency

Could working in an advertising agency teach you about creative writing?

You day-job might be more useful than you think. In a thought-provoking video interview at Open Road, author Fay Weldon explained how her time at an ad agency gave her invaluable lessons about the writing life. Here is a key excerpt:

I used to think creative writing couldn’t be taught and that you just kind of did it—until I realized that I had actually learned in an advertising agency all these skills of knowing what to say and what not to say. Of being rejected all time and having things discarded for reasons you couldn’t understand but had to come to understand. You can never teach what people are or what they have to say. Because they have to do that. But you can teach them how to have their words appreciated or to get the value of words. Nobody can say quite what they want to say or would say if left to their own devices. Because they want to be liked. It seems important that you should risk not being liked.

We’ve embedded the complete video below. What do you think?

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