Henneke Duistermaat features on The Writing Desk

The Writing Desk | Henneke Duistermaat | Enchanting Marketing

by | copywriting, The Writing Desk

Share Share Hello, Thank you so much for agreeing to be a part of The Writing Desk blog. Imagine I’m…


Thank you so much for agreeing to be a part of The Writing Desk blog.

Imagine I’m about to introduce you to an auditorium, filled with the smiling faces of folks fuelled by caffeine and an eagerness to learn. What would I say?

“Hello everyone, I’d like to introduce…

Enchanting Marketing founder Henneke Duistermaat

Here’s the part where we’d sit down and try and look comfortable next to the microphones. Are you sitting comfortably? Then let’s begin…

Henneke Duistermaart features on The Writing Desk

Can you name the business book that’s always on your desk? (I’m talking about the one that’s covered in pencil marks, coffee stains and has turned down corners…)

 My fave is Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath.

What’s your all-time favourite advertising campaign?

I’m not a big advertising fan, but I like good slogans like A tiger in your tank or 1,000 songs in your pocket.

“Everyone has a book in them…” Or so the saying goes. What do you think/know/believe is the secret to good writing?

There’s no such thing as good writing. All writing starts as crappy first drafts. Becoming a good writer requires learning how to edit, and how to turn crappy writing into good content.

If you were just starting out, what advice would you give yourself? Which book or books would you read first?

Good marketing is the foundation of good business writing, so before starting to argue about this word or that word, understand the purpose of your content. Start by reading books like Purple Cow and Permission Marketing by Seth Godin, and The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott, and then dive into old-fashioned direct response writing by reading books from Joe Sugarman and John Caples.

Silence? Radio? Or music while you work?

Silence. And if that’s unavailable, then the sound of rain to drown out the noise.

What are your top three novels of all time – and why?

  • One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel García Márquez
  • Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
  • To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

What’s the best thing you’ve ever written? Why did it rock your world?

I’m not sure—I let my readers judge that.

What’s the last thing you bought? And yes, that packet of chewing gum counts.

Sugarfree Polo mints. I can’t travel without them.

Who was your teenage crush?

Seriously? I don’t think I ever had a teenage crush on someone famous. Am I boring?

Describe the best meal you have ever eaten.

My boyfriend (now husband) and I were in a non-touristy town in Thailand. The restaurant didn’t look like anything special. It was cheap. But the crab in yellow curry was heavenly. It must be 20 years ago or so, but we still talk about it.

What’s your favorite tipple?

A caipirinha or a glass of red Rioja.

If I were to give you a private jet, David Attenborough as a tour guide and a month off work – all expenses paid – where would you go and what or who would you write about – and why?

The Galapagos Islands.

What’s in your pockets?

Nothing at the moment.

Pen and ink, pencil and paper or keyboard and screen? What’s your writing style?

I use anything that’s available—the tools matter far less than we think.

Do you read any blogs or magazines about writing? (And I mean read, not just subscribe to and delete/leave on your desk and recycle?)

I’m a grazer. I don’t religiously read any blog or magazine.

Tea or coffee?

Green tea.

Do you have a favourite cup or mug? Can you describe it?

I have a yellow mug with a smiley. The colour is rather ugly, but it makes me smile. It was a present from my hairdresser in Hong Kong. It’s over 15 years’ old.

What was your most adored children’s book? And character?

That’s probably Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl.

Your favourite word?

Can I choose two? Enchanting and irreverent.

Your most loathed word? (You know, the one that makes you shudder and say “Ew!”?

Oh, I have a long list of banned words. Awesome is pretty high on the list.

Where can we find you? – Browsing online or lost in the aisles of a bookstore?

On the sofa with my Kindle.

Favourite song lyric of all time? And why?

There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in. ~ Leonard Cohen

Name the artist who is guaranteed to get you up on the dance floor.

I’ve not found that artist yet!

Do you have any strange writing rituals you’d like to share with us?

I like writing before breakfast.

What are you working on today? What’s in the pipeline?

It’s Saturday and I’m trying not to work. But here I am answering a few questions. In the pipeline are lots of blog posts, a copywriting course, a mini-course on writing About pages.

Describe the last photograph you took.

I was recently in Washington DC and visited the Space Museum. A friend took a picture of me in front of the Discovery Shuttle—the real thing!

What piece of advice really changed you as a writer?

Probably two things have had a profound impact. Firstly, Austin Kleon’s book Steal Like an Artist kick-started my writing by giving me permission to find my voice by emulating a selection of writers I enjoy. And secondly, the idea that sensory words have more impact on readers than non-sensory words because they allow us to visualise or feel words. This helped me understand that good writing paints pictures in reader’s minds.

What was the last thing you wrote that had nothing to do with your job?

A birthday card.

What’s your favourite quote about the process of writing?

Sometimes you have to go on when you don’t feel like it, and sometimes you’re doing good work when it feels like all you’re managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position. ~ Stephen King

Who is your favourite Mad Man – or Woman?

I’ve no idea. I’ve never watched it.

Name your favourite film.

The Last Emperor.

Which book or books is/are by your bed today?

I just downloaded A Shepherd’s Life by James Rebanks, but haven’t started it yet.

Who was or is your greatest teacher?

I learn from everyone. I learn from meeting people, traveling, making mistakes, from life.

Who is your favourite artist?

I like a lot of artists. I’m quite eclectic. The piece of art that made probably the biggest impression on me is Guernica by Picasso.

Where do you like to work best – is it at a desk, in an office or in a coffee shop? And would you send us a picture of where the magic happens?

And finally, where can this caffeine-fuelled audience find you?




Thanks so much Henneke. And having discussed Malaysian food over a pot of green tea with you, I think we should try and emulate the crab in yellow curry some day soon.

Written By Katherine

Katherine Wildman is a copywriter for creative agencies and multinational brands – and the Creative Director of Haydn Grey.

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