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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Doing it Write



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!

22 comments:

Cheree Smith said...

I agree that all writing has value. Sorry about your cold, I hope you feel better soon.

MollyMom103 said...

All writing is important! It moves forward our craft. I'm glad you see that and embrace it. Keep chipping at the novel. Novels need fertilizer and that what mess of a first chapter is.

Caffe Maggieato said...

At the end of the day, I think at that's what we all hope for in our writing--to touch someone's life. For your client, the work you did for her was important. And how often can you brag about such an accomplishment with something as "unispiring" as resume-writing? ;) Good luck with the novel!

Misha Gericke said...

I hear you. And just putting her enthusiasm into the right words helped you learn a bit more about writing.

Misha Gericke said...

P.S. Hope you feel better soon!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

All it took was a little excitement on her part! All writing matters to someone.
Hope you feel better than poo soon.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Good for you. Writing anything is an accomplishment and when you feel like you've done a good job that will carry over to your other work. Best of luck with your story.

Robyn Campbell said...

Liza, I think you learned a valuable lesson that day. I absolutely am inspired with your post. I am sure of something too. Your story will be the best it can be. :-)

Cathrina Constantine said...

Hey, it's hard to write an excellent resume. Good for you. And this will flow into your own writing. Good Luck and feel better soon.

Bish Denham said...

I think writing resumes is way more of a challenge. At least to me. I wouldn't EVEN know where to begin. And you are so right, it's all about the words you use and how you use them. It's a talent not all of us has.

M. J. Joachim said...

Feelings are expressed in writing, and your feelings are valid. Whether you have energy, passion or the blahs, your writing has value. How you express yourself in your writing defines the characters and makes a difference in how the story plays out. Feel better soon.

Julie Musil said...

Happy blog birthday! Sorry you're under the weather. What you do for clients is important work, and I'm sure they appreciate it. Plus, it flexes different writing muscles!

mshatch said...

Happy Birthday!

ps got snow?

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Happy Bloggy Birthday. What a great lesson you shared with us. Good luck with the chopping.

Steven said...

Being a full-time writer who eats off words about a variety of subjects, I agree that all writing has value if there is enthusiasm and persuasiveness embedded in it. I'm also in the process of hacking a rough draft apart.

J.B. Chicoine said...

I'm so glad to hear about your progress on all fronts! The fact that you're even to the point of 'chopping your first chapter to bits' it monumental (not to mention blogging consistently for 5 years!.)

Robin said...

This post made me smile. It reminded me of how easily energy transfers from one person to another (both positive and negative). It is so nice when someone's enthusiasm transfers to someone who was feeling rather Blah. And then... Bam... it's all better.

And, yes, all writing matters. If a person doesn't a have a great resume that accurately reflects who they are and their accomplishments, they could easily become stuck in a slush pile. Isn't it a wonderful feeling to take all of that energy and find a way to put it on paper?

Happy fifth birthday to your blog. I know that I have enjoyed reading it for a LONG time now and would miss it horribly if you decided to shut it down!!! (So, don't...)

Stephsco said...

Ah, if only the job that paid the bills was as inspiring as what we choose to do in our down time :)

Lynda R Young said...

I hope you shake the flu soon. I loved this post. All we can do is our best. And it matters.

Kittie Howard said...

When my washing machine died, I got bummed out because spending money for a new one wasn't fun. Meh! But we've gotta do what we've gotta do. It's all important. Hope you're feeling better soonest. This is turning out to be the mother of all winters. You've had soooo much snow. Big applause for you, though, for keeping your spirits up.

readfaced said...

I'd be more worried if I DIDN'T think my first chapter rubbish. Every writer I ever hear of tells how they have to "kill their darlings" to make the story work. The rough draft is supposed to be rough, right?

Good luck with the chopping.

Leanne Ross ( readfaced.wordpress.com & @LeanneRossRF )

Anne Gallagher said...

Happy Blogoversary. Hope you feel better soon.