I grew up in the 90s, and like any white suburban kid on the West Coast, Tupac was my idol.
20 years later, not much has changed. I may not want Thug Life tatted on my chest anymore, but in some regards, Pac is still my idol.
Tupac was a symbol for something we tend to forget about: versatility.
He didn’t want to be pegged as just one thing. He wanted to be a businessman, a conscious rapper, a gangster, a poet, an actor, an artist, a politician…I admire that.
How Tupac Influenced My Writing Process
I love writing. The creative process is one of my favorite things.
But like Tupac, I don’t just want to be a writer. I already am a writer. That’s not a hard thing to be; you just write. I want to be a successful writer. I also want to be a successful marketer, a leader, an analyst, a comedian, an innovator, a storyteller, an artist, and a strategist. Who’s to say I can’t be all those things?
A year or two ago, my VP and I were talking about how we’d structure our new marketing team, and were brainstorming a few potential roles I could grow into. He laid out one option, and said “But you wouldn’t be working on content or the blog if you did that.”
I surprised myself by instinctively replying, “Don’t worry about that. There’s not a world where I’m not writing every day.”
It was true. Writing is a natural part of how I operate as a marketer. That’s why I got into this line of work in the first place. I write every day, but that hasn’t gotten in the way of being a content strategist or social analyst.
Writing is a tool that helps me be flexible and creative in my career, not something that boxes me in.
My content philosophy is 100% built on that flexibility. As a marketer, I don’t write for the sake of writing. I write when we have something to say as a business, or a purpose to serve. That’s the same way I feel about writing when I’m off-the-clock as well.
Tupac was a genius when it came to this. His songs were vehicles for different purposes. Brenda’s Got a Baby, Dear Mama, Ambitionz Az a Ridah, Picture Me Rollin’…Each of these songs takes a different tact and showcases a different version of 2Pac.
As a marketer, you need this same flexibility that made Pac one of the most marketable rappers to ever live. Writing a press release takes a different type of storytelling than writing demand gen content does, because the audience is different. You can let your personality shine through similarly, but keep in mind that you job as a marketer is to serve these needs and reach a specific audience, not just to be creative.
Writers love to be challenged; that’s why we write. This create with a purpose is a challenge you shouldn’t shy away from. Don’t let your ego as a writer get in the way.
Be More Than a Writer…It’ll Make You a Better Writer
There’s a common misconception that to be a good writer, a person needs to be depressed and lonely, holed up in a coffee shop somewhere while they put together a masterpiece. That’s bullshit.
Go out and do something. Good writers weren’t always natural storytellers. They got that way by doing shit that was worth telling stories about (and in general, it didn’t involve sitting in a coffee shop).
Whether it’s working hard enough to be an expert in your industry, or getting arrested so you can one day shout “Out on bail, fresh out of jail, California Dreamin”, you won’t be a creative writer without something to say. Go get some stories.
Editor’s Note: Don’t actually get arrested…I have to say that so you don’t sue me when pre-release isn’t as cool as the California Dreams video.