Photo: Aileni Tee via Unsplash
I sometimes think about you. Rather than belabor the perfect opening line, I just envision you sitting there in my office chair. You’re smart. You want to do the right thing—for patients, for science, for employees, for your career, your finances, your health. You’re giving me a chance to help you along your journey.
But you’re frazzled. You’re half listening to me. It’s hard for you to stay present during this in-between moment.
When I sit down at my computer to craft—a newsletter, an article, a user’s guide, a site map, I conjure you up.
Except when I don’t.
That’s when I write technical copy. It’s accurate. It’s tidy. It’s often very boring.
I know I’ve lost your attention. Off you go, to tweak the user map, to review the budget, to go pick up your kids. You click away from my newsletter. You set aside my article.
What does it matter? you think quietly. And move on with your busy life.
So I sit back down at my desk. I tune into the memory of our last discussion, try to hear your voice.
Last we spoke, you shared your passionate belief that patients can get more efficient care, when they get support during their decision making process. How tirelessly you manage the smallest of details, so that employees and their families can truly depend on their benefits. How proud you are that your daughter is going back to school for her masters, maybe her PhD. How being an entrepreneur puts incredible stress on life and loved ones but it’s almost always worth it.
Is that you? Close?
Today, I celebrate two years doing this work—content strategy, marketing, writing, communicating, editing—through Vital Tales, in great part thanks to the amazing network of yous.
Over the decades, we’ve confidently walked into many meetings, electrified by possibilities. We’ve thrashed our own and others’ meek first drafts. We’ve re-caffeinated on the trip home, to make improvements. We believed that with the right combination of words and visuals, delivered in the right form at the opportune time, we could blow past the barriers and facilitate change. Doing this well—it’s hard work.
Today, I swell with gratitude for all of yous. For all you have taught me about pesky homonyms (affect, effect), white space, cognitive bias, and actuarial values. About being a dependable colleague and an uncompromising client.
Tomorrow, I’ll raise up my desk, balance on one foot and attempt to pull that perfect verb from the mental swirl. I will focus on craft. I will dig into the work of communicating: ideating, defining the user, creating, revising, revising again, testing and revising again. In short, I will try not to inspire yawns. So all of yous will be inspired to think about, act on and believe new things that make our world better.
I might dig out my thesaurus. Call me if you want to brainstorm.