Back in college, I caught a lot of flak from my “underlings” on the student newspaper.
It was my job as editor to sniff around campus and come up with a list of stories for the little weekly tabloid I oversaw.
The same scene would play out every week. The staff would gather around the huge discount office conference table as I copied out my story ideas on the whiteboard:
New dorm renovations scheduled for the summer. Changes cooking for the core classes. Tuition going up, again.
I’d put out the call, “Anyone else hear about anything going on?”
Averted eyes. Fidgeting.
Eventually someone would pipe up with an idea or two.
Then it was time to dole out the week’s assignments. They all wanted to earn their English credit, so everyone needed a story. I’d ask for volunteers, then assign whatever was left to the stragglers.
After the meeting, I’d overhear the grumbling.
“Josh always keeps the best stories for himself. My assignment is so booooring.”
I just had to laugh.
What the other writers didn’t realize is this:
To me, EVERY story I jotted on that whiteboard was fascinating.
You just had to look hard enough.
There was one story in particular that was huge—but no one bothered to touch it. The administration was reworking the 3-part humanities sequence that every student was required to take. It was the biggest overhaul to the curriculum in 2 decades, and it affected every single student on campus.
I begged for a month for someone to pick it up before finally writing it myself.
This experience taught me an important lesson:
There are no boring stories. Only bored writers.
I see this play out every day in my work as a copywriter and marketing consultant. Business owners (and even other marketers) who think that their product is dull.
Maybe there is a product out there that’s just so pointless, so useless, so brain-meltingly boring that you can’t possibly write interesting copy for it.
I just haven’t found it yet.
Software that helps Amazon sellers get more product reviews?
Not that exciting… Until you discover the seething, cutthroat underworld of Amazon private label sellers—some of whom will do anything to knock their opponents off the map.
Processing modules and firmware for electronic sensors?
Yawn… Except that the bright-eyed entrepreneurs buying this software are building the Fitbits and Wii remotes of the future. And if they get even a tiny detail wrong in their prototype, they can be humiliated in front of their would-be investors—and their dream of changing lives dies a quick and miserable death.
The key to finding these stories is looking past the lump of metal or the 1s and 0s and seeing the product as part of the always-shifting, always unfolding human drama.
Do that, and you’ll never be bored again.