Last week I essentially said that there are two kinds of speeches in the world: those intended for ceremonial purposes, and those actually written to communicate.
Similarly, there are two kinds of speechwriters in the world, too: Crafters of remarks, and writers of speeches.
Crafters of remarks have the harder job. Without the driving, pulsing force of a real idea to get across to human minds—“I have a dream”; “I am not a crook.”—the crafter of remarks must still somehow muster enough juice to carry the moment, to leave the audience feeling comforted and not condescended to or bored. Feeling good about the speaker. And above all, feeling connected with one another in a conventional wisdom that doesn’t feel like conventional wisdom, but rather Old Truth that bonds us together with one another, and all of our ancestors.
Communication? That’s something every good writer should be able to do.
But crafting remarks—that’s a rarer skill. I don’t have it. Do you? —DM