On Creative Writing in the Age of AI in this month’s issue of ‘Tell Your Story Newsletter’

May 2023 Vol 5 Issue 5

Tell Your Story Newsletter (TYSN):
Specializing in Entrepreneurial and Linguistic Communication
Let me help you tell your story!

Welcome Mid-May 2023!

After weeks of unseasonable cold during March and April, the past week or two has brought near record-breaking warmth to Saskatchewan. During April, our temperatures varied within one week from -30 degrees to above 20 degrees Celsius! And as I’ve prepared this issue of “Tell Your Story Newsletter,” daily temperatures have risen to nearly +30 degrees — all signs of
climate change.

And yet the sunshine and warmth feel so welcome, after another interminable prairie winter–and a Covid one, at that.
With May, the grass of neighbourhood yards has started to “green up,” robins are taking flight (and charging our windows) and Saskatchewanians are breaking out flip flops, bermuda shorts, and our ever-important sunscreen.

As the ground finally thaws, gardeners like my friends and colleagues, Ashleigh Mattern; Julie Barnes; Laura Zink and Tom Yates prepare to plant the seedlings they started last winter, or the inviting annuals and perennials already on “show” in our favourite garden centres.

Painfully aware that Covid-19 is not behind us (as hospital wards still show), some of us continue to “mask up” when visiting hospitals, but also in grocery stores and other indoor settings where many congregate. Covid has not “done” with us, although outdoor activities bring us more of a reprieve.

In “Article One,” this month, I visit an influential posting by Jessica Lam Hill Young over LinkedIn, on how creative writers must adapt to Artificial Intelligence (AI) or face obsolescence.

And in “Storytellers’ Corner,” I visit a smart networking pointer from American psychologist and marketing guru, Robert Cialdini.

I wish for you, good readers, time to enjoy the remainder of spring, before summer (too quickly) takes its place.

May we all be conscious of the blessings that still grace our lives, even in these late pandemic times.
Storytelling Communications
ARTICLE 1: Creative Writing in the Age of AI
STORYTELLERS’ CORNER: Dr. Robert Cialdini on Persuasion
Article One: Creative Writing in the age of AI

Much ink has been spilt lately over the rise of AI, notably with ChatGPT and its competitors.

In a posting on May 5th on the social media network I most often teach to newcomers, LinkedIn, SEO specialist, tech marketer, copywriter and strategist Jessica Lam Hill Young wrote persuasively about how AI will genuinely change the landscape for copywriters and content writers (including me).

From her office in Hong Kong, Lam Hill Young contends that 90% of writers will eventually be replaced by AI, especially for relative newcomers to the field, who have “under five years of experience.”

She says that when reviewing recent applications for an opening of a writer for her team, she repeatedly saw “the same red flags,” such as generic cover letters (from templates); blog writing focused more on SEO than on in-depth thinking (relying on repetitive phrasing, obvious statements, impersonal writing); and unclear writing that is also “clunky,” and without “brevity,
conciseness and elegance.”

She calls for a “radical paradigm shift” so that “copywriters and content writers become marketers, not writers.” Here are her seven tips for creatives who want to avoid career obsolescence, as AI deepens and intensifies its influence:

(1) Instead of taking instructions from a client (as writers often do), become “a marketer” who “deeply understands and persuades the target reader to take action.” This matters, because AI cannot “feel and speak to the pain points of your reader with human empathy.”

(2) Develop a niche in topics that AI struggles with, such as developer content, specific B2B audiences (yay!), technical content, tech thought leadership and medical writing, amongst others.

A painful reality, Lam Hill Young says, is that for “wellness or B2C” writers, “it’s game over, soon.”
(3) Search back at original data on your topics, get first-person insights (by interviews or webinars) and “read thought leadership” in the field you’re writing about (“Forbes,” the “Harvard Business Review,” “The Economist” and “The New York Times” are all great places).

(4) Diversify your skills so that you don’t just write content/information-based writing: “Master copywriting, website copy, email copy, social media posts, nonfiction writing, etc.,” because “these are all interrelated.”

(5) Don’t crank out “volume.” Good marketing writers don’t produce 6000+ words/week in which nothing stands out. She recommends that we raise our fees and “spend more time on 2000 words/week that actually matter.”

(6) If you’re making the mistake of charging by word count, stop! It “devalues your work as an output of volume.” Instead, write projects that are not about meeting a target length.

(7) Spend all your free time playing with AI so you can understand its limitations. Actually use ChatGPT: when you feed it your prompt, does it write better than you? While marketers can build “briefs” (i.e. summaries, guides or arguments that present key points to stakeholders), Lam Hill Young writes, genuinely great writers “should OWN that brief. For example, the hiring marketer can give a bit of context, topic, audience, campaign goals, etc. . . .
but NOT tell the writer what to write and the outline, etc. The writer should be the one deciding on angle, messaging, sources, structure, storytelling, etc., after diving deep into the subject matter.”

And, she adds, “the writer should be a savvy enough marketer to tell the hiring manager when there are problems with the content request.” Friction will definitely result.

Writers who are thought leaders will take an email or a question or a prompt from an editor and “run with it,” successfully. Lam Hill Young says she seldom finds that amongst freelancers, and only with in-house creatives.

World white paper giant Gordon Graham (a Canadian with whom I share my website designer) added further that more work will transpire for well-read editors who can polish up drafts written by AI. And “there will be lots of opportunities for writers/editors who can write with AI and then humanize its drafts.”

Creatives need to plan writing “strategically around context, audience and business goals.”

Gone are the days of Googling sources to create content. ChatGPT and its rivals are mastering that, as we speak.

Currently, Lam Hill Young writes, ChatGPT doesn’t work to develop client content on highly specialized topics, but writers whom she recommends, Jacob McMillen and Julia McCoy, are exploring those limits. McMillen responded that AI can create remarkable writing for long-form
if it is tackled one section at a time. (But AI’s capacity grows rapidly and will soon do more!)

So researching with paid subscriptions, listening to podcasts (Eric Anderson’s, Christina Cherneskey and Lenore Swystun’s are faves of mine), listening to webinars and interviewing real people are the best ways to write original, interesting and useful content.

Later last week (May 11th), Lam Hill Young (linchpin that she is) added five resources for those of us striving to learn about AI, while living “real lives”:

(1) The Neuron – AI News –is a weekly AI newsletter collecting the latest and most popular in AI developments by expert curator and journalist Pete Huang. You can find them in one handy email “before they pop up in your feed.”
(2) Prompts Daily –A “Prompts Engineer” is now a career! Get all the latest prompts in a daily newsletter and creative ideas to get the most out of AI tools, using those prompts.
(3) AI Chat Slack channel by Ruben Hassid. This channel has a brilliant tagline: ” ‘Master AI before it Masters You’ .” This can be a great community chat for AI-related matter.
(4) The Superhuman newsletter by Awais Khan. This is new to Lam Hill Young, but she finds reason to keep reading. What do you think?
(5) There’s An AI For That is a huge directory listing 4,120 AIs for 1,158 tasks and more, updated daily. Whatever you need, AI will be on it, if it hasn’t already mastered and archived the field. https://join.theneurondaily.com/

And now it’s your turn: what are you using AI to do, in your work or business? And with what results?
Please write in; I’d be delighted to hear from you!


STORYTELLERS’ CORNER: Words, stories, riddles and articles on marketing, writing and language learning
This month: Dr. Robert Cialdini on Persuasion

The great psychologist and marketer, Dr. Robert Cialdini (best known for his book, Influence), recently posted on LinkedIn a method for applying persuasion to networking.

When someone is introducing you to another person, group or larger audience, Cialdini suggests these pointers:
(1) As a receptionist for a company, a woman (let’s call her Lucy) might introduce clients to colleagues by saying, “Do you have a question about commercial real estate? I’ll put you through to Peter.”

(2) Lucy’s supervisor asked her to change her introduction to: “I’ll put you through to Peter . . . he has 20 years of experience and is the go-to expert in this region.”

(3) By making this change, the securing of appointments increased by 20%. And signed contracts went up by 15%.

All the receptionist did was bring Peter’s genuine authority to awareness.
Because Peter did have that experience and he was in fact the expert in this field. So this leaves us with an idea for how to bring authority to the surface in your organization: Cialdini says we should always answer these three questions:

(i) Who should introduce me? If possible have someone else introduce you and your credentials, so you won’t be seen as a braggart.

(ii) When should I be introduced? Try to be introduced right before you speak, whether in a meeting or at a presentation.

(iii) What credentials should I give my introducer to use? Your expertise, experience, titles, awards, achievements can be mentioned . . . as long as they’re relevant to your message.
Don’t be (too) modest. Leveraging strong, relevant credentials will help your audience to choose you for their project(s).

Do you have an, idea, problem or pointer involving any aspect of language, communications or marketing? Please share it with me; I’d be delighted to use it in an upcoming issue.



At risk of boring my readers by repetition, I need to express particular gratitude again this month to the staff of (Revera) The Franklin assisted living building, for taking care and sensitivity in welcoming my elderly mother back to her home, after she endured a very trying time in hospital.

Particularly wonderful were Mason and Charmaine in advising me on the gastroenteritis that infiltrated so many seniors’ facilities last winter, which made several residents, including my family member, very ill.

Mason quietly and masterfully disinfected the suite involved and Charmaine advised on protocol for hospitalization in a very stressful time: Thank you, to you both!

While the experience I witnessed at Royal University Hospital demonstrated the breakdown of hospital care that fills the daily news, I also owe tremendous gratitude to parish nurse Laura Van Loon, who advised me on how to emerge from a terrible lack of care to safer rehabilitation at home.
Once again, thank you, Laura!
Entrepreneur of the Month: Stephen Cavan
. . .
Based in Saskatoon and soon to be Calabria, Italy, Stephen Cavan has been a highly motivated entrepreneur in several fields, over the years:

While teaching Greek and Roman Classics at U of S, he began a hobby of brewing beer at home.

But the lack of available supplies motivated him to start his own business, opening Paddock Wood Brewing in 1995.

Steve’s purpose was to sell the best ingredients for making beer. Selling ingredients eventually transformed into selling the finished product. By 2012, his hobby had yielded over $1M in sales in Canada and employed a staff of 15.

The market for craft beer grew very slowly and most local bars hesitated to offer it. So in 2012, Steve opened a bar–The Woods Alehouse–to showcase the world of craft beer. But managing a bar/restaurant with roughly 30 employees became what he terms a “hot potato.”

He was happy to sell that business after four years.
Most recently, since 2019, Steve has retired from brewing and become certified to teach English as a Second Language (ESL). Through his wonderful wife, Kathleen (formerly of the English Department and St. Andrew’s College, U of S), I began to discuss with Steve my own interest in ESL.

Steve has been teaching privately on the “italki” platform, since 2020 and has mentored me to do the same, while we both teach some in-person classes on business and academic topics.

Steve’s current plan is to teach English from retirement in Italy, combining in-person and online classes to a growing number of intellectually curious and admiring students.

Thank you, Steve, for your commitment to the ESL industry. And I hope we will collaborate in the future, as well!
There are always new businesses, non-profits and entrepreneurial programs to promote. Please write me to share your success stories!
I’m excited for what’s ahead in our entrepreneurial community.
But for now, this is a wrap for mid-May!



Between 2011 and December 2018, Elizabeth Shih Communications chronicled the stories of B2B marketing and communications on the Prairies and across the country.

Effective January 1, 2019, I rebranded as “Storytelling Communications.” I now help newcomers to Canada land better jobs and economic immigrants to secure contracts by improving their English skills; I help SMEs close more sales by communicating more effectively; and I help major companies tell their legacy stories.

Interested in learning more? Please contact me through my CASL-compliant
website (www.elizabethshih.com). After I receive your message, I’ll be pleased to discuss projects with you!


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