Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Writer Wednesday — Mnawar Shourakaa — Working to make Arabic the “primary language of creativity” in the Middle East and North Africa

Each Wednesday I feature a fellow writer, and not just ad folks. I’m interested in anyone who makes a living stringing together words. Their answers are unfiltered, so I may not always agree with every last bit of advice. After all, what works for one writer may not work for another. But we all need fresh ideas and perspectives to keep growing. Interested? Please email

One of the fun things about opening up Writer Wednesday has been hearing from copywriters around the globe. Today, we’ve got Mnawar Shourakaa, a creative consultant/copywriter in Lebanon who writes in Arabic in hopes of helping boost the language’s standing in the creative world. (No worries though — this interview is in English.)


What’s your writing focus or specialty?

Well Leigh, I've been working as an Arabic copywriter for more than 7 years, through which I had the chance to work on many international and local accounts of different industries, such as: F&B, automotives, finance and banking and many others.

Writers often take winding career paths. What led you here?

It's an interesting question to ask, Leigh. Personally, I always knew that I would be working as a copywriter someday. When I was 13 years old, my English teacher asked us to create an advertisement. Believe me; through working on this advertisement, I discovered a huge passion towards advertising in general and copywriting in particular. I didn't have any single doubt about what should I major in college, I chose advertising and I got my BA after 4 years of study. Now, you would ask me: "Why did you choose to become an Arabic copywriter, why not an English CW, why not a bilingual one?" The answer is very easy: I didn't choose it, it chose me!

You have no clue, Leigh, about the huge shortage in Arabic copywriters in the MENA region [Middle East and North Africa]. In addition to that, it is no secret that Arabic advertising copy has nowadays fallen second to the compliancy and creativeness of its English counterpart, that's why I made a pledge to myself to create fluid Arabic copy and make Arabic once again the primary language of creativity.

Tell us a little about your creative process.

Listening, listening and listening! It's very important to understand the needs of your client before writing your copy. In my experience, I found out that copywriters don't give much attention to this step! Every piece of copy I produce is reviewed, analyzed and polished to perfection. The end result is a flawless, glistening masterpiece that also ticks all strategic boxes.

What do you do when you’re stuck? Any tricks for getting unstuck?

Well, Leigh, it's always helpful to check the material of your client's competitors. This has two advantages: First, it gives you an insight of what had been written before in order not to clone or repeat. Second, it gives you an inspiration to do something even better and more creative. It never fails!

Any side projects? If so, how do you make time for them?

Call me a workaholic, but I don't have time to side projects. Any free time I have I like to spend with my family and friends. You may consider it as a time out to energize myself, before moving on to the next writing challenge.

What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given?

Oh, there are so many advices that enriched my career. I consider the most important one is the golden rule that we all came to know: NEVER ASSUME!!! It's very important, Leigh, to check your facts thoroughly before writing a single word. Believe me, if you didn't do so, there will be severe outcomes.

What’s one thing you know now that you’d wish you’d known at the beginning of your career?

That's an easy one, Leigh. In the beginning, I thought the key to success was to work hard. After a while in the business, I came to think that the key to success was to work smart. Now, after all these years, I truly believe that the key to success is to work SMART and HARD! If I embraced that from the beginning, I truly believe that I would've accomplished more.

No comments:

Post a Comment