I recently read that “just one art experience per month can extend your life by ten years. Activities from painting to dancing to expressive writing are… profoundly beneficial to our health”.

Expressive writing: I do really enjoy the scripting and writing parts of my job. I am currently scripting a performance for a corporate client. It’s actually an appearance at a conference that I will be hosting and their consultants will be speaking at. But it all needs to be scripted – although it mustn’t seem to the audience like we are just reading off the page.

Similarly, when I deliver Media Training, Presentation Skills training or Personal Impact training, I also work from a script. I need to know which topics I am going to cover, what I am going to say about each subject, and how I am going to illustrate each point with examples. There’s a phrase in eduction called “teaching and learning” which is not only about teaching your subject, but making sure that your students have understood and taken it on board. You’re not just the “sage on the stage” imparting your knowledge, blathering on about your subject and your opinions. But you should be checking in, at every stage, that your student is absorbing and comprehending your meaning. This is partly achieved by listening but also by practice, role play, ‘doing’ and then reviewing. In my Media Training sessions, we conduct practice interviews or presentations, we record them and then have ‘playback and feedback’. Most people never video themselves and then watch it back, so this can be a toe-curling experience for them 🙂 I do, of course, watch myself a lot because I am a TV journalist and presenter. We’re always watching ourselves and seeing how we could improve: eg don’t wear that jacket/lipstick/hairstyle, don’t sit in that semi-slumped, awkward-looking pose, don’t wear those shiny tights – your legs look like sausages. We’re hard on ourselves (and probably most people don’t notice those things) but it’s how we improve.

Anyway, back to creative writing: I also enjoy writing blogs like this, and even emails, texts or WhatsApp messages to friends. All these pieces of writing have to be checked and corrected, so they flow how you want them to, the pauses are where you want them to be. Someone once said to me that my writing sounds how I talk. That’s exactly what I want!

Now, I understand that some writing, for example academic dissertations, aren’t written how we speak. But that doesn’t stop me wanting to put them into simpler language, with less contorted sentence structures. You don’t want people getting lost in your parentheses, subordinate clauses, digressions and afterthoughts. But there’s a happy medium: you also don’t want to get into Primary School territory, ie “John has a dog. It is big. He also has a cat,” etc.

So, I’ll keep writing, for enjoyment and for my work. I’m lucky that these two coincide, overlap and interconnect – because my job is all about words and how they’re conveyed. And I hope that other people are benefiting too, and maybe even enjoying some of what I write…

Sarah Lockett

Sarah Lockett is a former BBC News / Sky News anchor who currently presents a variety of content for corporate clients and delivers media training.
She has presented on BBC News and Sky News, plus reported for Channel Four News, 5 News, Reuters and others.
She now hosts webinars and conferences, chairs corporate/academic panel discussions, hosts award ceremonies and events. She writes, presents and produces training videos, as well as voiceovers (both factual and drama/comedy). She has written two books and is also working as an actor.

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