A Little Family Attention

Domino FYI transracial adoption

This is our photo from the article. Notice the focus on the people who aren’t me.

My article on transracial adoption (I never hear anyone say that, I always use the term “inter-racial”) published in FYI (a sister publication of Encore, or you can find it on the website) this week. I don’t often talk about myself or my family in my writing, as I’ve mentioned more than once on this blog, but I got a good response from the story — it’s been shared several times on Facebook and via print copies.

Talking about yourself seems to be the path to success: there are some people (think vloggers or people on Instagram) who have made it a career. Maybe it’s just a hurdle I need to get over. At the same time, talking with people about the article has shown me that I could almost write a sequel to it, with more information on different aspects of the adoption process. I mostly talked about parents who adopted, and the number of adoptions in Michigan, but talking it from the other side, interviewing adults who were adopted, would be just as interesting. Maybe I need to wait another few decades until my son is old enough to answer those questions.

Long-Form Writing

When I write an article (or a news story for TV), I always “write short”: fewer words than I should have for the story. Stephen King claims he has “diarrhea of the typewriter,” where he can’t stop writing. I prefer Mark Twain’s suggestion to “eschew excess verbiage,” and I get to the point. Just say what needs to be said to get the point across, and then you’re done.

Maybe my real passion is in the research, talking to people about what they’re doing and who they are, and learning facts and figures. Then I come back to the computer and explain it to my readers, in as efficient a way as possible. Journalism isn’t the same thing as fiction writing. Telling a made-up story, you… make it up, adding things as they seem appropriate. Telling someone else’s story is taking what they say and making sure it’s understandable to the general public. Surely there is a happy medium between the two, spending more words supporting what the subject of a story is talking about. That’s the next thing for me to work on.

Cold Calling

I don’t cold call often because I don’t think sales are my strong suit. I need to develop my skills, and I got a boost in that direction today. I’ve read up on cold calling techniques, but what it really comes down to is picking up the phone, and moving on after a rejection. Experienced sales professionals say their attitude is, “If the prospect doesn’t want the good thing you’re offering, it’s their loss.” (I’m paraphrasing).

It takes some time and practice. Toward the end of my calling session, I had a feel for what I was going to say, and some responses to forestall people dismissing me as a sales pitch. Still not my favorite thing to do, but you have to start somewhere. And everything in life is a sales pitch of one kind or another, so it’s good to work on. Like posting regularly to this blog.