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Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Full Circle Cliché

I am rubbing my hands together, in an, “Ok, let’s get down to business" manner.

The resume I produced earlier this week for a finance executive was accepted with pleasure. This morning, I received a call requesting a last minute review of an almost-complete marketing brochure. Over a two hour period I bashed out minor revisions (there may not be time for large scale changes) and a major overhaul if they have the flexibility. A check of email a minute ago delivered positive feedback to both, and the potential for further business. Perhaps purists will call me a hack for this kind of writing, but tough. I need to get paid for something. How lucky that I may be successful at work that gives me such joy?

In truth, I thought I’d be bored with resume writing, but shrugged my shoulders. No one gets to do what they want all the time, right? However, after a phone interview with the finance man, which with 20 plus years of experience, I can do in my sleep, writing the resume provided an entertaining challenge. I drew on my past experiences hiring numbers-types and pulled a professional piece together over a matter of hours.

My reward for that job well done was the surprise marketing assignment this morning. How fun to climb into the head of the advertiser, into the heart of the consumer, to build a compelling piece that will sell to both. While I’m writing, I’m quizzing myself: How do I differentiate? What are the benefits of hiring [my client] verses another vendor? What’s the best way to build that into language that pops, and results in action by the customer? It involves a thinking, creating, thesaurus-ing, total immersion, the same way every other type of writing captivates me. Whether it’s a resume, a brochure, a blog post, an essay, or a shaky attempt at a short story, time leaks away. When I look up, an hour has passed and I’ve missed the whole thing.

About 12 years ago, there was an opening at my old company for a copywriter. I was the HR associate responsible for interviewing viable candidates. The copy chief was a favorite of mine; it was a bonus that I loved his area of expertise too. For this particular recruit, he required final candidates to offer a writing sample, which involved developing an ad campaign for Valentine’s Day.

Without telling anyone, I took the test home and crafted a jingle--which I brought back to work and laid in my front desk drawer. My work was good, but corporate politics were stronger. I yearned to send my test to the copy chief, to be considered for the job, but that meant telling my current management about my wish, and our senior executive was unforgiving about perceived breaches in loyalty. Had I expressed interest and not been hired, I would have put a drop-dead halt to my career.

Mentally chastising myself for cowardice, I went on with life. The Valentine ad sat in my desk for years, long after the copy chief passed away from cancer, through three promotions and three office moves, until the summer of 2008, when, during what ended up being my final office relocation, I purged it.

I can’t, nor would I want to, change the past. The confidence I have to take this writing leap now is a direct result of all my experience in former roles. Sitting here today though, I am at a hub of a wheel and everything I need and want is traveling down the spokes to meet me. Finally I’m working with words.

If only my old friend the copy chief was here to read them.

3 comments:

glnroz said...

A vicious block on the wrong man.. you know how it goes.. but when it is the "right" man...good show.

Simon C. Larter said...

Congratulations on the word work, good lady. It must be immensely gratifying to get paid for the fruits of your literary labors. Best of luck to you as you pursue freelancing in the future!

P.S. Have you seen http://www.thursdaybram.com/? She also tweets. She blogs about freelancing. Don't know if it's helpful, but there you go. :)

Tabitha Bird said...

You go girl. I am inspired by your drive. Keep it up. :) and I think that kind of writing can be some of the hardest, so don't ever think that it isn't 'real' writing. :)