I promised when I launched this site last October that I would include occasional missives about my writing life, and how trying to launch three wildly different projects is faring… the short answer is, not much has happened on that front. It’s not surprising, as it takes time and energy to get one thing going, let alone three, and I have allowed various distractions to suck away my time (acclimating my horses to a new barn, which one of them strongly dislikes, going on a trip with my husband and his family, getting a head cold, holiday preparations, getting another head cold, going on another trip to visit friends, take your pick).
Yet something did fall in my lap recently that I could not ignore. On one hand, it did not directly contribute towards any of the three projects. On the other hand, it was a reaffirmation that I can be a terrific writer, humility be damned.
I was invited last spring to volunteer on a short fundraising video for a local nonprofit, to assist with some of the writing and do some of the narration, perhaps even be on camera. It sounded like fun so I said yes. Nothing happened for several months and I almost forgot about it, then I met with the video team again. The focus of the video had changed, and they had some footage, but needed help weaving it all together. Slowly I realized that they wanted more than just a phrase or a voice or a face – they wanted me to write the whole script.
Like, say, in a week.
Sure, why not? I sat down with their notes, my notes, plus the rough cut of the video, and began writing. At first I was going to give several options and let them choose, but as I got into the work I realized I had a grasp of this theme, and that I could do this. I had never written a video script before, but I had written marketing copy, sales brochures, content for Web sites, even real estate newsletters that extolled the virtues of homes I’d never seen. I have written many, many different things in different formats that were designed to inspire readers to take a second look, to think about a product in a new way, to take action and try something new. Plus I had a genuine passion for this nonprofit, and I believed their fundraising request was realistic and vital.
I had this.
I created something that was half existing material, and half new. The narrative was tight, friendly, urgent, and under the five-minute maximum. I liked it, but as I attached it to an email and prepared to hit “send,” I told myself that it was all right if they didn’t like it, or if they wanted to make extensive changes, or if my work simply wasn’t the right fit for this project. I risked offending them by cutting some of their footage, especially one sequence that was outstanding but not relevant to this particular video’s theme.
So I sent it and I waited. I got my first response in three hours.
It turns out the video team loved it – they said the script was just what they hoped it would be. They agreed with my suggested cuts and were excited to start filming. Their enthusiasm was wonderfully gratifying.
As I basked in a job well done and kudos from a happy client, I thought about my three projects that are waiting in the wings. All of them may be just what their audiences are hoping they will be.
And if not, it’s okay. I need to hit the “send” button on those projects, too.