Tuesday, March 18, 2008

On tooting your own horn

I finally got around to sending out that darn press release about our new patent. Should be hitting the wire just about the same time as this entry. Whew!

You wouldn’t think it would be so difficult for me to get the word out. After all, until 3D Radio takes off I’m spending most days as a PR flack. Crafting precise messaging, wordsmithing press releases, nudging press contacts — it’s all in a day’s work. For my clients.

What’s holding me back is certainly not writer’s block.

I’ve been writing from Day 1 – bad adolescent poetry followed by bad 20-something poetry until I hit my stride as a 30-plus nontraditional college student with a lot of papers to write. The professors kept on giving me As, and eventually I began to understand my writing wasn’t so bad. In fact it was really good. I was able to publish quite a few papers in academic journals and book chapters.

Some time during grad school I realized writing was my calling, and everything I’ve done since then has involved plenty of prose, from freelance reporting to teaching to high-tech consulting to my last full-time gig as a newspaper editor.

But I’ve always written about something else — some people’s belief, someone’s job, a company’s product, a new business – never about myself. I even directed my column outward to speak about someone I admired, a book I just read, or something important I learned from a parent. I purposefully put myself in the background because, well, I just didn’t think readers would find me as interesting as the subjects I wrote about.

So now I’m faced with promoting my own company and finding the sharp PR showmanship that comes so naturally when thinking of a client’s story grows a bit blurry. It’s hard to brag about your own creation. It’s a little bit of shyness, a touch of fear (what if they don’t like it/me?), and quite a bit of “Oh my God, one more thing on my bottomless to-do list.”

No comments: