Saturday, September 5, 2009

Published: Tip #6--from mom with CMV twins

When I was looking for a job as a writer in public relations, not having any experience in that field (although I had experience publicizing my own books and availability as a speaker), I thought I should prove that I could write by bringing along my published books and articles. The interviewer looked it over thoughtfully and asked, "Oh yes, that's very good, but can you write anything short?"

Hum, she had me there. Although I said, "Oh yes," and pulled out a very short article that a magazine editor had slashed to bits so it would fit on the page, I knew it would take some training to be able to write short, snappy sentences.

It takes time and thought to make your point in as few words as possible. People don't really want to read. If you don't engage your reader quickly, they begin to glaze over and move onto something else. I love to read bullets because I don't have to spend time reading transition words, etc.

In an effort to raise congenital CMV awareness, I am often guilty of throwing in too many facts. A message will lose impact if the reader has any reason to begin the "glazing" process. I have learned a lot from my friend, Janelle, who is the mother of twin girls born disabled by congenital CMV. She can't bear for other women to be unaware of how to prevent contracting this virus while pregnant, so as busy as she is being a mom, she founded Stop CMV. Just the short name of her organization written across a t-shirt makes people stop the person wearing it and ask, "What's CMV?" She makes her readers want to know more--she never gives them a chance to glaze over. Janelle's tip:

Published: Tip #6--from mom with CMV twins

"Isolate and research your audience in order to help target your message. The more you know about your audience, the easier it will be to pare your message down the one most crucial point." - Janelle Greenlee, President/Founder, Stop CMV and The CMV Action Network. Check out Janelle's Web site with all her great slogans, banners, flyers and a list of Stop CMV reps from all over the world willing to be contacted about their experience with congenital CMV. Visit:

P.S. If you see any typos, please let me know. Thanks!
My Books:
Anything But a Dog! (The perfect pet for a girl with congenital CMV)
Ride a Horse, Not an Elevator
EVER TRUE: A Union Private and His Wife

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