Why I write, right now

Sonja Nisson
3 min readApr 15, 2020

This feels confessional. After 20 years of writing most weeks, it’s been nearly a year since I published anything at all. I’ve picked up a pen, started, stopped, and restarted many times. I have a notebook full of scrawled, half-finished ideas. There’s been so much to reflect on, but in the last 9 months I’ve made little progress — until now.

It does feel like an odd time to get writing again, in the midst of these strange, unsettling times.

Do I have anything helpful to add? Will anyone care about anything other than anything virus related? Can I calm my anxious brain long enough to string together anything coherent?

My usual lack of confidence, magnified 100 x right now.

Yet I notice that I’m craving the written thoughts of people I know and respect at this time. I want to understand what they’re seeing, how they’re feeling, what sense if any they can draw from this crisis in their field of work. If the writing is personal enough, I’m drawn in. I’m reading and listening more than ever.

So I’m nervous (personal feels brave) but writing also feels so necessary. It’s always been the best way to get my ideas straight and make sense of complexity. “I write to find out what I think” has never felt more needed, or more true.

What to write about?

Last year, after a couple of decades running my own business, Valuable Content, everything changed. I have been lucky enough to land a one year contract as senior manager in charge of the fantastic content design team at Nationwide Building Society. I’m working inside a large, values-driven organisation at a time of huge upheaval and rapid change, and content is right at the forefront of this transformation.

It’s a fascinating adventure, and I’m learning so much from the brilliant people here. With a few months left of my contract, I’m keen to chronicle the experience and make sense of it all, to prepare for a future — in business and in life — that’s very much unknown.

I’m curious to draw on this experience and my Valuable Content roots to explore topics such as:

  • The role and rise of content design in the communications mix
  • The importance of purpose in business (and in life)
  • The changing nature of the marketing landscape
  • What to communicate when selling just feels wrong
  • How to use valuable content principles to engage people in your ideas
  • Content and communication during this time of crisis
  • How to use content to drive important change inside organisations

Content matters so much. The need for connection and clarity in a time of isolation and confusion is great. I’ve been all over the ‘Land of Content’ in my career, and I hope I can share some nuggets to help you navigate a path to greater confidence and clarity.

I’d love to share the lessons I’m learning, some tools and frameworks that help me, plus interviews with others I believe have ideas for us all to learn from too.

If you’re in a content or marketing role, or if you’re a leader who believes in open communication, I hope this will help you to realise the enormous value of what you’re doing. The fundamental principles behind creating valuable content — listen, help, share, love — are needed more than ever right now, if we’re going to change the world for the better after this.

As ever, I’m keen to make sure what I write is valuable. How does this sound to you? What would you like to hear about? Do let me know.


PS: Huge gratitude to Sharon Tanton for helping me to kick start my writing journey again. Thanks, partner!

Sonja Nisson (previously Jefferson) is a strategic marketer and content coach. She founded Valuable Content and is co-author of Valuable Content Marketing — how to make quality content your key to success. Connect with Sonja on LinkedIn.



Sonja Nisson

Continuing adventures in the land of content (and life)