World’s most challenging writing tasks

One reason I work in corporate communications is that it offers a broad range of writing assignments. From writing the CEO’s blog to email subject lines to medical case studies to advertising copy — I am continually challenged.

But . . . there are always those assignments that you dread. Those tedious, soul-crushing projects that leave you staring at the screen, wondering where you went wrong in life. Or the impossibly difficult assignments that leave you staring at the screen, wondering at what point in your career you became a hack.

Below are a few assignments that seem to be the worst or most difficult writing tasks imaginable. If any readers have written any of these, please tell your story in the comments section.

  1. High school fight songs
    Now that one of my kids is in high school, I’ve been spending a lot of time at football games, band practices, and parent meetings. The lyrics to the school song are displayed everywhere. How does one go about writing a school song? The writer not only has to incorporate the school mascot (the bobcats), but also has to make the song different from every other high school’s fight song. (Rather than the “fightin’ bobcats,” we’ll be the “growlin’ bobcats.”)
  2. Package inserts
    Package inserts are included with prescription or over-the-counter medications to provide additional information about the drug. Often overly long and complicated, the Food and Drug Administration tightly regulates the format and content of these inserts. So writers of inserts may actually want to use clear language and shorter sentences to help readers understand, but they may not be allowed to.
  3. Legislation
    When else do you get to entice your readers with long introductory phrases (“it is not necessary to state”); Latin phrases (“ex officio”); and words such as “whereas” and “heretofore” and “thereunder.” When it comes to writing legislation, what you write is vitally important, very few people will truly understand it, and the Supreme Court may end up interpreting it.
  1. Website privacy policies
    The person charged with writing a website privacy policy must work with the IT department and the Legal department . . . departments known for creating purposefully obscure content. Not an easy task.
  1. Catalog descriptions
    Though I could never do it successfully, I admire the creativity that goes into describing items of clothing. Some catalogs tell a story about each item. Others use clever metaphors. And the use of adjectives and color names is nothing short of brilliant.
  1. Greeting cards
    I struggle with what to write in a co-worker’s retirement card, so I can’t imagine writing content for sympathy cards, grandparent’s day, graduation, friendship, or 75th birthday cards.

 

Readers . . . what would you add to this list?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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