Many write. Few put in the years of practice it takes to write well.

Fewer still write with a level of clarity that exploits the full power of words. “Easy reading is damn hard writing,” as Nathaniel Hawthorne put it.

I’ve been practicing damn hard full time since 1990—as an award-winning journalist, a freelance writer, a creative writer, a copy editor, and finally a brand-focused freelance copywriter. At the heart of all my work is a powerful clarity that comes from my orderly mind and technical command of the language.

My copywriting combines clarity, style, and science

It marries the precision of copyediting, the storytelling aspects of journalism—branding is, of course, storytelling—and the savvy that comes from years of working closely with branding specialists. I also keep tabs on the field of neuromarketing: the human brain is wired just so, and it’s smarter to work with it than against it.

Western Massachusetts is my home base

But you can be anywhere. My clients span the United States, from Boston to Biloxi to San Francisco.

How I got here

I majored in cultural anthropology at the University of Massachusetts, despite having no plans to become an anthropologist. The subject was too interesting to pass up. Always a strong writer, I soon stumbled into a career as a journalist, covering topics as diverse as whale research, homelessness, and the AIDS epidemic. I then spent a decade as a full-time copy editor, starting with book manuscripts and eventually becoming the chief copy editor for a major consumer magazine.

When it was time to change direction again, I realized that journalism and copyediting came together very nicely in copywriting.

Cigarettes and Swiss cheese?

I also remembered that marketing was in my blood. My grandfather was a big deal at Leo Burnett, the famed Chicago agency, in its early days. My mother swears he had a hand in creating the Marlboro Man. If true, there’s some bad karma! Among his accounts was Kraft Foods, and I’m told it was he who suggested putting holes in Kraft’s then newfangled processed Swiss cheese.

Those holes must have looked good on my grandfather’s resume, but frankly, I wouldn’t want them on mine. Today, the holy grail of marketing is authenticity. And it’s a good thing, because I don’t think I could have made the leap from writing about homelessness and AIDS to spinning fake holes in fake cheese. (Sorry, Granddad!)