Thursday, March 29, 2007

Stringing words together

I've been writing pretty much all day -- it has been really fun, too.

Until the last four years when we moved to Red Bluff and began to sell real estate, I'd made a living writing and editing and marketing for various sectors -- nonprofit, public, corporate, church. I wrote marketing brochures, direct mail pieces, product instruction booklets, news releases, radio and video scripts, newsletters... even phone scripts and speeches. I named products. I came up with cutesy tag lines and slogans. Wrote packaging copy.

I can write about anything, pretty much any way.

So I've been working on policies and procedures for the new Real Estate Digest that our REALTOR association is about to publish, and I'm also the editor, so I wrote and polished the first editorial copy for the publication, which hopefully will be distributed around Round Up in a few weeks.

I love the whole writing process: consulting with whoever is requesting it (that could be a product manager, a division, a department, or a client), figuring out what format and style and tone will best deliver the message, perhaps working with a graphics department or simply creating design myself to enhance delivery, and then cogitating.

When I'm working on most projects, I often will do the research and then let it perk for a few days. It appears in my dreams. I talk parts of it through when I'm driving or gardening or cleaning. And finally I'll sit at the computer and most of the time the piece flows from my brain to my fingers without a lot of angst and contemplation because I've organized it and plotted it in my head.

I love finding just exactly the right word to express a feeling or a concept or an action. I use Merriam-Webster's online dictionary a lot -- just as I used to use the paper version. I still have some great reference books that jog creative thought, too.

Even in real estate I've done a good bit of writing -- our Web site, for instance, and weekly ads in both print and online publications. Direct marketing pieces, postcards (design too), and the mostly-monthly newsletter we do for the Chamber of Commerce's Good Morning Red Bluff meeting. (Plus lots of Arts Council newsletters and columns.) It's always a challenge to get inside the head of whoever my audience is and try to find just the right approach.

And then there's this blog -- a completely different kind of writing, one that is just fun, often therapeutic, and solely for me. It's made me think more seriously about writing a book, something I've always thought I'd do eventually. It may be that 'eventually' is turning into 'now.'

I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions. ~James Michener

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