Q&A with RJ Bardsley

Racepoint Global

Racepoint Global’s very own RJ Bardsley, EVP and Global Tech Strategy Lead, writes his second book, The Photographer’s Truth. Peter Prodromou, president of the agency, discusses RJ’s life as both an agency executive and published author.


Peter Prodromou: RJ, I think readers would like to know about your background in public relations. Talk about how it’s made you a better writer.

RJ Bardsley: It was really my work in public relations and marketing that made me want to write a novel in the first place. We do so much writing in this industry – everything from speeches to press releases to bylined articles. We have to move quickly and learn enough about a subject to be able to express an idea fully in writing – and do it well. That has always been one of my favorite parts of the job. It was after a particularly long writing assignment where we basically wrote a book for a client, that I said – okay, it’s time to do this for myself.


Peter: How have the skills that you’ve acquired during your career in PR transferred over to other aspects of your life?

RJ: Is time management an acceptable answer? In all seriousness, PR forces you to be good at a lot of things – thinking on your feet, presenting, managing relationships, seeing other people’s points of view, paying attention to detail. I don’t think you have control over whether those things transfer over to the rest of your life – they just do. My ability to focus quickly on something and stay focused on it has definitely helped in the writing.


Peter: As Racepoint’s global technology lead, where do you find inspiration, and more importantly the time, to write?

RJ: I write in the early morning – before anyone expects me to be awake and responding to WeChat or email. I don’t even look at my phone until after I’m finished writing in the morning.

As far as inspiration – I don’t really know. My first book was more of a family saga. I guess it was inspired by my own family, although the characters in the book aren’t based on anyone in particular. This new book, The Photographer’s Truth, was inspired by a random conversation I had while on a business trip in Paris years ago. But, again, it isn’t based on anything or anyone specifically.


Peter: How can people with full-time (and busy) careers discover their own passions or hobbies?

RJ: You have to just make time to do it. I think having a passion or hobby actually makes you better at your career. It gives you perspective.

The challenge is, with a full time career, you only have so much time, so you can’t do it all. It has to be about prioritizing and not beating yourself up when you miss something. Some days I don’t make it to the gym because I need the time to write… sometimes that goes for a week. I don’t worry about it – I just go with it.


Peter: How do you transition from writing for clients to writing for fun?

RJ: All writing is fun. All editing is hard. That said, the writing for clients tends to involve a different approach – it is usually based on research and focused on different news or tech trends. It is almost always AP style writing where the big points come first and clarity and accuracy are both job number one. Writing fiction tends to be more of a process of exploration – letting your mind wander across a lot of different possibilities and scenarios.  You’re weaving a story or a narrative in a longer format. But, I do like to structure my fiction writing in an outline similar to the way I approach white papers or bylined articles at work.  That kind of organization helps with the process.


Peter: You’ve now published your second book, called The Photographer’s Truth (first was called Brothers). What do you love most about writing books?

RJ: I love the first draft and the finished product.  Everything in between is work.  But it’s good work.


Peter: Can we look out for a third book in the near future?

RJ: Yes – I am currently working on my third book and it’s due out next year.  I can’t tell you a lot about it but it does take place in Boston.  Stay tuned.

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