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Four questions: Endings and beginnings

This is where I admit I stole this post idea. Well, OK. I sort of stole it.

A fellow Nashvillian and fabulous travel writer, Kristin Luna, posted these four questions and answers on her site, Camels and Chocolate. Because I haven’t posted here in a while – and I loved the concept behind the four questions – I thought I’d take her up on her offer of participating in the Blog Hop and answering them myself.

So, here goes.

1. What am I writing or working on?

I just finished a whole bunch of stuff … the most important being my first semester as an adjunct instructor in the Electronic Media Communications department at Middle Tennessee State University. I taught two sections of Writing for Digital Media and found it to be some of the most challenging and rewarding work I’ve ever done. I think I may be addicted to teaching.

Photo: Cohesion Arts

Photo: Cohesion Arts

A very close second is serving as chairwoman for PodCamp Nashville 2014, which was held in mid-May at the Nossi College of Art. Despite a late start to the planning, financial struggles and more obstacles than I care to remember, we pulled off one of the best online content “unconferences” Nashville has ever seen. We had nearly 300 people in attendance and I couldn’t be more proud of the small-but-mighty team of awesome people who worked so hard to make it a reality.

So, now what? Great question. First, a vacation. Then? I guess now is as good a time as any to introduce you to a name you’re going to be seeing a lot of around here in the next several weeks – East South. That’s the new name of my content consulting business, which will launch on July 1. I’m extremely grateful to my friends Alison (Orange Morning Creative) and Brianna (Nerdette Designs) for their help and guidance in creating a fabulous new brand identity and improving my web presence (in the works!), respectively. For now, until that new site launches, give @EastSouthComm a follow on Twitter. I’ll be posting updates there.

This site isn’t going away. In fact, I’m really excited to be able to turn this space into something a bit more personal and familiar. Slowly, you’ll start to see the business side of things disappearing around here, replaced by lighter, less serious blog posts on things I’m experiencing or noticing. It’s going to be fun. I hope you stick around.

Other than that, I still have several awesome clients I’m working with. I’m writing content for a wide variety of industries now including a healthy/active lifestyle company, a couple of online marketing groups, several startup companies and a health coach. I’m getting back into writing for Draft Day Suit and starting to think about Season 3 of the “Carla and Crappy Show.” (I can’t believe we’ve lasted that long either!)

I’m also keeping very busy with The Fellowship, working part-time as their website coordinator and online community manager … with a bit of social media event planning in there as well.

2. How does my work differ from others in its genre?

I think one of the biggest differences I bring to the table is that I haven’t really nailed down a specific genre. I’ve written successful pieces for health care, religious/non-profit and technical clients as well as long-form magazine features. I think my versatility plays in my favor. Starting my career as a general assignment, community reporter at a local newspaper definitely plays a major role in that. On any given day, I had to be prepared to write about just about anything, and that’s a mentality I’ve carried now for more than a decade. (I feel very old writing that!)

3. Why do I write what I do?

This one’s simple – I hate being bored. While many writers like to specialize, the variety of my clients allows me to explore many different areas in my writing. It’s refreshing and challenging. I love digging in and learning new things and then explaining them through my writing.

I also love taking complex subject matters and simplifying them for a broader audience. My absolute favorite question to ask in client meetings is this – how would you explain what you do to your grandmother? The looks and responses – especially from employees at very high-tech companies – are priceless, but the thought processes that go into their answers are key in putting together a successful content plan.

4. How does my writing process work?

It doesn’t matter whether I’m writing bullet points for a client or a long-form feature … my process begins in the same place every time – research, research, research.

Hopefully, a new writing project can begin with a meeting of some sort, whether it’s a call or a face-to-face exchange of ideas. Then the research begins. Who are the competitors? Who is my audience, as defined by the client? Who is my audience, defined by the market? If it’s a high-tech or health care company, how do I explain what they do?

Sometimes, a survey is necessary. Sometimes multiple interviews with some of a company’s clients or employees are helpful.

But once all that information is put into place, the story starts to form itself. I just let it happen and see where it goes, then refine and fine-tune it from there.


So … that’s my Blog Hop. Want to join in the fun? Answer these same four questions on your site, then post a link below.

1 Comment

  1. Camels & Chocolate

    Very cool about your first semester at MTSU! Well done! If you ever need to bring in any guest lecturers next academic year, you know how to find me 😉

    Sad I couldn’t make it to PodCamp but hopefully next year…

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