This is February's installment of Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group. To read more posts in this monthly blog hop through which writers help other writers, click here.
Last week, in the freelance-writing side of my life, a finance professional contacted me to revise a resume. Sigh. For those who don’t know me, a long time ago I worked as an HR/recruitment manager. If you stacked all the resumes I read over the course of my career and plopped a stepladder on the pile, you could touch the moon. (Trust me I understand, really, what agents go through.)
Now, writing resumes provides bread and butter for me, and while I’m grateful for the work, it’s not what you’d call inspiring. Besides, when the job came in, I was in a funk. I’d picked up my current WIP after a two-month break and realized the first chapter resembled a pile you’d find steaming in a farmer’s paddock. It didn’t help that the day I was scheduled to conduct a phone interview with the resume client, my cold evolved into a hacking, up from the knees cough, and I felt, well… pretty much like I'd waded through the pile mentioned above. As I picked up the phone, I pictured Darrin Stevens, the ad executive on the old show Bewitched, tap dancing in his quest to come up with the right tag line for his ad agency boss. All my grandiose dreams of writing a successful novel, and instead, like Darrin, I was writing buzz words for a resume.
But when I made the call, the client, an analytical, accounting-oriented consultant, tripped over words in her enthusiasm and her voice bubbled as she described her accomplishments. My job was to represent her zeal and successes on two pages of paper and suddenly, my mission seemed more important. Her passion reminded me that all successful writing has one goal in common, to elicit a favorable response. Her resume needs to hook a hiring professional, the same way my first chapter needs to hook a reader. Page by page, no matter what the product, every single word and sentence matters.
A week later the cold lingers and I'm chopping my first chapter to bits. But I wrote a good resume. And that reminded me that all writing has value, as long as it's my best.
Hey, guess what? Eight hours after I posted this, I realized Middle Passages is five years old today. Happy birthday to my blog, which has been my writing guru, and at points, my salvation! Thanks to all of you for keeping me going!