Can you help us help you?

Award submissions… They’re tricky, awkward things.

But writing one might be about to get easier. I’m working with Nikita Morrell, my colleague and fellow writer over in Australia, on a ‘toolkit’ to guide you through the process.

Here’s a little extract from the ‘Time to start writing’ section that might be helpful, whatever you’re writing. And it’ll give you a good idea of what this toolkit is all about.

Step one—your way in
Make it easier for yourself by drawing a quick chart with three columns.
 
In one column put the things you need to cover (Client’s brief, planning constraints, materials and method of construction…).
 
And now, in the next column, rewrite each of these into a human-friendly question (or questions). So ‘Client’s brief’ becomes ‘What inspired you at the start?’ and ‘What was the ambition behind the project?’. Get all your questions down before starting on your answers.
 
Step two—the bare bones
It’s time to jot down your ideas in the third column – in note form – in response to your human-friendly questions. Don’t be tempted by full sentences or the vision of a perfect paragraph. That’s for later.
 
Are these questions starting to invite more interesting responses? We hope so.  Simply by having formulated these questions, you should be opening your mind to what really matters.
 
In other words, whether you’re talking about the brief, the materials, or the finished building, you need to think beyond what your design is to how your design works. Because describing the detail, the materials, the clever flourishes won’t be enough. It’s about showing where these lead us—their impact on people.

When it’s ready, Nikita and I will be selling the toolkit as a download from both our websites. In the meantime, you can browse – or, even better, buy – the ones Nikita made earlier (without me on board) here. She’s covered everything from writing an ‘About’ page to writing a press release.

This new, jointly written toolkit is still a little way off, but we’re soon going to be looking for a few people to test-drive it and tell us what they think.

So if you’d like to be one of our guinea pigs, get in touch. It’ll be helpful to us and – I hope – helpful to you.