Welcome to “Writing in the Workplace.” This biweekly series will focus on how professionals-in any field of work- use writing. If there are industries you’d like us to spotlight or you’re interested in being featured, we’re only a tweet away!
Ben Cloutier is sales representative for an asset management firm in downtown Boston. He graduated from Quinnipiac University with a BA in Political Science in 2013.
What mediums do you rely on for your writing?
At work, my writing is split between my desktop computer and a small notebook, and in both cases usually for the purpose of note taking and pitch generation. At the office we use a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) service called Salesforce, which allows for detailed and lengthy note taking. Outside of work I like to use my phone or a legal pad for ease and accessibility purposes when exploring a particular thought or idea, and my laptop when a word processor seems necessary.
Describe your writing process.
Achieving success in my current role requires a fluid understanding of current financial and market trends and happenings. I seek to come to this level of understanding by absorbing as much information as I can, which is often times through studying detailed notes. In a meeting about a new product or current market conditions I’ll jot down, in shorthand, as much as I can to then re-read later, cementing my comprehension. With clients, I’ll usually do the same; I try to write as much information about them and their individual needs as possible. From these client notes I’ll expand upon my proposed solutions in a straightforward process. First I examine the need objectively, then identify a fitting solution, and end by connecting the two, through writing, in an eloquent and concise way. I’ll later use this writing in direct client correspondence or to supplant my verbal communications with the client.
Outside of work, in poetry, for example, I find efficacy in tossing unrefined ideas onto paper and asking (and writing down) as many questions about the ideas as I can think of, along with their answers.
What kind of feedback do you seek out for your writing?
I request my two business partners provide me with adequate criticisms of my client correspondence and note taking. In this role, I am a novice, and any feedback or advice I receive I attempt to internalize in order to improve upon these skills.
What has been your most challenging writing experience?
In college, I procrastinated (a verb with which I have considerable familiarity, and one which we’ll be covering shortly) writing several research papers until two days before the papers became due, near the end of the semester. I ended up completing the papers, totaling around 70 written pages. Though I walked away with high marks in each, the extended writing sessions were physically exhausting.
What has been your most meaningful writing experience?
I’ve recently taken up writing free form and haiku poetry. I find the exercise engaging and at times cathartic, and I am free to explore and challenge, at will, my own limits of expression. At some point yet undefined I will likely seek to compile and publish a body of work in this area.
What’s your favorite way to procrastinate?
I don’t think there’s really one preferred method for me, but I procrastinate heavily. For example, I wrote the following 5-7-5 haiku instead of answering these questions tonight:
BWANG-PYUNG djoo noo NEEEWW//
DEEEEEWUUUNEEEEEE BYOOOOO dum…..
Do you listen to music while writing? What kind?
Sometimes I’ll listen to classical music, I have a CD called ‘Bach Jams’. Usually not, though. I find music to be at times distracting.
Most important book you’ve read?
At this point in my life I really like Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn. It takes a foundational look at mindfulness meditation and how to practice it day to day. 10/10, would recommend to friend.