Words, words, words

As a copy writer I’m surrounded by words. They are the tools of my trade, the source of my income and I’m lucky enough to enjoy them immensely, especially in their written form.

But where did it all start? As human beings, when did we decide to take the language we’d been using to communicate amongst our tribal groups and write it down?

Blog post wordle

Watching Stephen Fry’s Planet Word (BBC 2, Sundays 9pm), I discovered that our earliest written ‘documents’ were in fact impressions made in clay tablets. And the subject of these ancient writings? Not faith or power or politics or love. But a matter of accounts.

Some of the first forms of writing constructed from simple pictograms, recorded payments to workers in beer. An early form of payroll records.

Writing soon spread as it became useful and necessary to exchange information about law, messages about battle and so history was made. And trade meant that the written word continued to spread and develop as traders moved good and recorded transactions all over the ancient world, totting up their profits and keeping track of their stock.

Sage hasn’t been around quite so long as that ancient writing. But even in our 30 years we’ve seen a lot of changes to business and communications, from floppy disks to cloud computing. And I’m sure in the next 30 years there will be even more. But even if we’re not ordering Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters in galactic dollars, next time you tap those transaction details into your mobile phone, remember you’re continuing an ancient tradition of business writing that goes back many thousands of years of human history.

Michelle Nicol, Sage Copywriter