Writer Spotlight: Stu Brown — The Stuff Legends Are Made Of

They say it takes a village, but when it comes to writing content, a crowd can do pretty amazing things. As we begin wrapping up another great year on the platform, it seems fitting that one of the final spotlights of 2021 shines on one of the very first members of our talented group. 

Meet Stu Brown. Stu has been with us since the early days and is one of the few who writes and edits under his own name because hey, that’s how it was done back then. I’m sure many of you have crossed paths with our legendary wordsmith, even if you didn’t know it. He’s a mainstay on our editing boards, reining in stray commas and turning passive voices into active ones. 

Stu’s familiarity with Crowd Content translates into some interesting perspectives, so let’s get this spotlight underway and learn what life’s like on his side of the monitor. We’re off to the UK, where we find our featured writer under a staircase. No, really.

“[I write] at home in a hole under the stairs,” Stu says about his work set-up. “Think Harry Potter but I’m the parent, and I choose to work there.” When he needs a change of scene and caffeine fix, he grabs his laptop. “There’s also a pub over the road that does unlimited coffee, something that’s almost unheard of in the UK.”

Stu earned a master’s degree in Chemistry and spent some time working in retail. About 12 years ago he began writing professionally, trading in atoms and molecules for semi-colons and conjunctions. He was plying his trade on other online platforms when a group of writers enticed him to Crowd Content.  

“I was asked to join,” Stu says. “I’d worked with several people here previously on various platforms, and I was looking to expand my options.”

Fortunately for our content managers, he’s still here. His versatile writing skills mean he can handle any topic they throw his way. Well, almost any topic. “I avoid fashion because my sense of fashion is practically zero (jeans and t-shirt for the win), but other than that, I can write in a variety of styles,” he says.

He can switch between business writing, sales copy and blog posts without a second thought, but once in a while, he’s treated to a project that gives his own voice a chance to shine through. “I like it when I can let loose my sarcasm on a project, so writing for the Gazillions project has been fun,” he says of the celebrity news website. 

While his writing and editing abilities set a high bar, there’s another reason Stu is such an integral part of Crowd Content. He’s an incredible mentor to new writers. He’s always one of the first to answer questions posted on our discussion boards and offers plenty of guidance when editing work. 

I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask Stu for a piece of advice to help newbies who want to grow their skills, and he obliges. “Never try to wing a new project without reading the brief,” he suggests. “And please make sure you understand the feedback that you’re being given — from an editing point of view, there are few things more frustrating than giving a writer a lot of highly targeted feedback and three-quarters of it being ignored. We’re here to help writers, but we also need to ensure content is good enough to get to the client.”

When it’s time to take a break from work, Stu keeps busy learning about tech, rock climbing, and helping to manage a small menagerie of animals. He’s also pretty good at wielding a whisk and rolling pin, baking up delectable goodies. This may explain his favorite TV show. “The Great British Bake Off (or Baking Show for those in the U.S.) is always one I watch,” he says. “But I’m also a fan of The Boys and Squid Game. And Lower Decks.”

Stu also enjoys books by Terry Pratchett, best known for his humorous fantasy and science fiction writing. “His work is brilliant, illuminating, fantastic and satirical. It holds up a smoky mirror to the world we live in,” he explains.

Our intrepid writer/editor has been very patient with our interrogation today, but he’s not off the hook yet! We have a few more questions, including some hard-hitting ones about what he likes — and doesn’t like — about our platform.

What’s your favorite restaurant or meal? “There are so many to choose from! If I have to choose something a bit pretentious, I love a good steak tartare, but I also love a good curry with homemade rotis or naans.”

Have you been published by any notable sites or organizations (digital or traditional)? “I’ve had copy picked up by national newspapers and portals in the UK. However, I don’t really worry too much where my copy ends up.”

What do you think sets Crowd Content apart from other content platforms? “Communication and respect. If there’s an issue, it’s not simply swept under the carpet; instead, it’s dealt with. The communication across the platform, whether it’s with CMs, writers or editors, is outstanding, so problems can be resolved fast.”

If you could change one thing about our platform, what would it be? “Editors need to be visible. I edit a lot, and it’s frustrating for writers to not know who is editing their work. It’s frustrating from an editing point of view as well, because you only know who is sending back your work, not who is editing it and passing it on.”

What do you find most challenging about writing content? “There’s not much that I find challenging unless it’s for a new client and the brief hasn’t been fully fleshed out yet. At that point, I have to make judgement calls based on what the client is likely to want, and it can be challenging to balance writer interests with client requirements. Like many things, editing and writing improve with practice.”

Complete this sentence: When I’m not working, I love to… “Cook, climb and gallivant around the countryside.”

What are the five worst words in the English language? “There are none! As an editor, I’m kind of expected to have an opinion on words, but we live in a world that has a rich tapestry of languages to draw from. Words gain ascendance and words gradually go obsolete. And the process is driven by a diverse array of speakers. That’s what makes dealing in words so amazing: You constantly learn of new uses, new ideas and new ways of looking at things.”

And with those thoughts, this month’s Writer Spotlight draws to a close. I’ll let Stu return to his Cupboard Under the Stairs because I can see the editing queue filling up. And to all of you who clicked through to read this, many thanks for being part of our talented crowd of writers. We’ll be back again to introduce another Crowd Content freelancer. Maybe it’ll be you!


Article by

Erin is the Community Manager at Crowd Content, and before that was a project manager here for 3 years. She lives in Massachusetts, is a baseball/Red Sox fanatic and loves spending time with her family.

Powered by Crowd Content image

Content Creation for Your Blog

Get More Info
Content Marketing

Grin and Bear It or Grin and Bare It?

Continue reading

Content Marketing

Why SME Review Is a Viable Solution to Scaling an Expert Pro …

Continue reading

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>