Writing That Connects With People
English is the only language I’m fluent in. However, I grew up in a family wherein two other languages were frequently spoken.
My mother is Greek, and my father is Assyrian. My mother, whose family is from Kalamata and Corinth, sent my brother and me to Greek school when we were children, and my father and his relatives spoke—and still speak—to the two of us in a mixture of Assyrian, or modern Aramaic, and English.
Of course, Greek and (especially) Assyrian aren’t commonly spoken throughout most of the world, and informing non-Assyrians that I’m Assyrian is often followed by some version of, What’s that?
Assyrians are indigenous to Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. My father and his family settled in the U.S. in the '70s, having fled political persecution and violence in Iraq. Before that, genocide forced my paternal grandparents' families out of what is now known as southern Turkey in the early 20th century.
Today, there are an estimated 3.5 million Assyrians worldwide. Like my family, theirs were forced out of our homeland during the Assyrian Genocide, which occurred alongside the Armenian and Greek Genocides.
While many Assyrians alive today can trace our recent ancestry to the same region in Turkey, we are spread out across the globe, with some of our largest populations dwelling in Australia, Europe, and the U.S.
Suffice it to say, my desire to write was born out of a deep desire to be seen, heard, and represented in a way I’d never experienced outside of my family—and, even then, not fully, because don’t we all develop the urge to individuate from the people who raised us at some point?
Being regarded as a question mark—and for something that is an essential part of me—produced in me the desire to write to make others feel understood.
As it turns out, before I decided to pursue writing, I bounced around in the nonprofit world, and before that, I attended law school—and on three writing-based scholarships, no less. I ended up dropping out after my first year, but what the experience did clarify was that I needed to write, and persuasively.
In fact, on more than one occasion, the professor with whom I formed the closest relationship during my time there told me that when it came to crafting my statements of facts, I needed to tamp down the persuasive slant.
After I left school to pursue writing full-time, that same professor invited me as her guest to a networking event where I met the attorney who gave me one of my first writing gigs at her law firm in San Francisco.
Since then, I’ve learned that my experience is characterized by something that is not unique to successful freelance writers: That is, that for the individual who wants to write for a living, it’s not a matter of if, but of how they will achieve their goals.
The bottom line is that we all consume. But we’re also drawn—and loyal—to companies whose missions resonate with us. And creating that resonance requires thoughtfully crafted writing that shows your audience they are being seen, heard, and represented.
No matter what kind of business you run, remembering that you are a human connecting with other humans is the best way to avoid sounding robotic or like you’re stuck in a time warp while staying on the pulse with your audience.
At least, that’s my opinion.
Other fun facts about me:
Before attending law school, I received my B.A. in Art History (officially Art with a Concentration in Art History) from San Francisco State University.
In 2014, I presented at American University's Feminist Art History Conference (I was the only independent scholar there—no pressure!).
I've ghostwritten a full-length memoir.
In my spare time, I write creative nonfiction and poetry. I also review prose at Chestnut Review. Before joining the CR staff, I was published there; you can read my piece here.
Need a nonprofit copywriter?