Friday, January 9, 2009

Sometimes... I Surprise Myself... in a Good Way!

Yesterday I received an email from a gentleman who wanted me to bid on a "rush" job at Elance that I really was afraid to do. The project was to edit a long-form ad (24 pages in length!) into a four or five page document. making it a much shorter long-form ad.

First of all, I loathe (underscore loathe) long form advertising... even to just read it. I know it's often necessary when someone is trying to sell a high-priced service or item (to help potential buyers overcome "sticker shock"), but I despise being trapped inside a sales pitch myself (no matter how masterfully presented) for thirty freaking minutes or more.

And this was a RUSH job, to top it off. I have never done long form advertising, so I was skeptical that I had the skill set to do an exemplary job. I wasn't even certain I wanted to learn how to do this kind of sales project. Did I want to risk my 100% positive rating at Elance on a RUSH job where there is so little room (time-wise) for error? Not really!

Even though I was feeling very insecure about the whole thing, the buyer was absolutely convinced (based on my portfolio at Elance) that I was the person he wanted tackling the job. So, hesitant but purposeful, I spent about forty minutes on a "spec" page, editing and rewriting the ad the way I would want it presented to me if I were its recipient. What I came up with was very different from the original, which was written in a kind of working man's slang ("stupid meetings that go nowhere," and the like).

I sent off the "spec" beginning to the prospective buyer and was almost immediately reassured that what I had started was exactly what he was looking for (structure and tone), so I said a prayer, accepted the project and set out to finish it, feeling encouraged and much better about the whole thing.

By the end of yesterday, over a period of five hours, I had edited the 24 page behemoth down to six pages (not including lots of lengthy testimonials) and had the skeletal structure of a good piece. I created the document in two different formats (the first using testimonials along the way, the second leaving all testimonials for another page) and sent it to the buyer.

He wrote back within an hour with glowing comments and a little more direction, saying that now he could see where "we" have three perfectly good, perfectly useful (in different venues) documents if I could adapt one of the two documents into an ad letter for executives!

So this morning I got up at 3 a.m. and set to work on that one. It came together so well that I felt compelled to go over to Jackie's half of the abode as soon as she got up and burble all over the place, telling her how surprising and wonderful it is to do a truly exemplary job "by the seat of my pants," feeling that the stretching I have done on this project has "grown" me as a writer in a number of ways.

She said, "You're an awesome writer, Kris," as though nothing I was telling her was a surprising revelation to her. But she did understand that I was treading new territory and that "getting it right the first time" was a surprise to me and had made me utterly giddy!

I wasn't sure, when I began as a freelance copywriter, that I would have what it takes... that I would measure up... that I would even enjoy what I was doing. But over the course of the past year, I've completed more than 30 projects at Elance and have 100% positive reviews from buyers to show for it. I have fallen in love with copywriting. I "adopt" every client as if they're family members and "catch" their enthusiasm for their product or service. I "capture" their voice and vision and find ways to put all of it into a document so it can be disseminated via email, letter, or website to prospective buyers.

I have never been happier in a job than I am in this one. And every time positive new feedback comes in at the conclusion of a project, I get giddy all over again. It confirms to me, "You can do this. And you do it very, very well!"

It has taken me years to finally "own" my premier skill set. I could kick myself for not having the courage to get to this point a long time ago.

And in 2009 and beyond I hope to get even better! It's the nature of the "beast" in me to believe that I'm not finished "growing" as a copywriter... or as a person.

I would be so bored and uninspired if I believed that I have reached the pinnacle of growth as a writer or as a soul and need learn no more. But it's great to know that I'm "good enough" just as I am.

We all want to feel that way, don't we?

Here it is. It's official:You are good enough, just as you are. But keep going and keep growing so you never get bored or prideful.

It ain't over till there's a gravestone over your head or your ashes are sitting in an urn or scattered somewhere -- and then it ain't over, "over there"!

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