I have always believed in the power of words. There is something infinitely persuasive about the pattern of narrative. Used correctly words have infinite power – they can touch points deep within us and motivate us to live enriched lives.

I started writing plays and poetry at school in Birmingham and in Detroit. I was born in the working city and I suppose that’s why I regard writing as a purposeful activity that has value. Birmingham makes its money by making things, whereas in London, it’s about buying and selling.

I studied English at the University of the Witwatersrand, as well as philosophy. I was a student activist and often got the crap beaten out of me when I participated in student protest in the early 70’s. I first earned money as a writer as a journalist. Then I progressed to advertising, learning my craft under Bill Roberts and Rob Waldron at BBDO, South Africa’s leading ad agency in the late 70’s.

I took to advertising immediately. I felt immense satisfaction seeing my words in print, hearing them on radio and television. One of my first concepts was for Nissan – Valid Value Used Cars – Used Cars As Good As New Cars. It is still being used to this day.

I progressed rapidly, becoming Creative Director of Grey Phillips in the late 80’s. At Grey’s I began to realise that much of my work never really progressed without being altered in some way. The campaigns I ran for BMW and Nedbank received many accolades, however I felt challenged to write for myself – the ultimate test for a writer is that his work sells.

So I wrote a thriller, Hyena Dawn, which was accepted and published by Heinemann in the UK. The book became an international best seller and I was hailed as the new Wilbur Smith.

I wrote another three thrillers and then decided that I needed a change of direction. I went into Client Service and became Client Service Director of McCann-Erickson. I worked on a vast portfolio including the Unilever brands – Magnum, Cornetto, Gino Ginelli, Ola, Vaseline Intensive Care, Floro and Stork. Working with Delta Motor Corporation we took Isuzu to the number one spot in the bakkie market, taking the lead from Toyota.

Another U turn and I went back into creative, as Head Writer, at Gitam. We won the ABSA Bank account in a pitch against the major players in the business. I penned the line: Today. Tomorrow. Together. Miraculously this line has survived multiple agency changes.

I originated and ran a creative writing course for a year at Vega, teaching my students the art of writing long form fiction. Today I continue to write fiction in my spare time. However I have a new passion – social media.

Advertising has changed dramatically for the better in the last decade and at last the obsession with making television commercials has abated.

In social media, writing once again has come to the fore. Reality television, whilst appearing unscripted, is in fact the most writing intensive media form yet. The writer’s skill is in managing and developing content.

Words have to work harder today than ever before.