Last week, I talked about the first of the three primary goals that I have written down on a sheet of paper in my wallet (so I always have them "close"):
Last week, I talked about my desire to go to Guatemala, use my Spanish, and meet our family's sponsored child, Silvia. I often think that goal #2 (Big Green Pen) will have something to do with getting me there.
Ever since Healthy Kids started, way back in the early 90's, our logo was Kelly Green, and we had green felt tip pens that matched .... they looked good when a signature matched the letterhead. To this day, you don't have to look far in our office to find a Paper Mate green felt tip pen.
Several staff have been the dispute coordinators under my supervision, and one of my jobs was proofing/editing their response letters to families who had filed complaints. Let's just say a lot of green ink flowed ....... and I started having ginormous "souvenir" pens given to me as gifts ..... and learned that my nickname was "The Big Green Pen."
I was rarely happier professionally than when I was proofreading for Ballantine Books from 1990-92. I mean, I was getting PAID to read. Could there be a better fate? When I look at a piece of text, I "see" the potential "fixes" that can be made in the same way that I imagine someone who can sight read music "gets" what to do. Mingled with all of that is my writing. They're all different facets of the same "skill gemstone."
I have spent fifteen years working with call center stats, have passed major certification tests, and know my way around a basic contact center report. But in some ways (including the fact that a recent office restructure resulted in me being out of the work force management day-to-day), I know that another fifteen years won't make that analytical, strategic work come any more naturally to me. Enter the proofing, editing, and writing.
I am dabbling in many proofing/editing/writing things right now. This blog is working the writing muscle. I am about to edit a local author's second book, and various projects keep popping up that all test my writing mettle 500 words at a time. I want to give these projects a home, and I want to tell people who are interested in reading my work or actually compensating me to proof/edit/write someplace to get a feel for who I am and what I can do. I have been fortunate to strike up a barter arrangement with Noel Wiggins, a professional graphic designer. I fix his writing, and he is helping me design a "home" for the Big Green Pen. Here's prototype number 1:
One thing that has been helpful about working with Noel (besides the fun I have editing his press stuff) is the kinds of questions he has asked, questions that are helping me figure out what I want "The Big Green Pen" to do. In his most recent email, he asked, "what call to action do you want?" And I have spent the days since I received that email searching for an answer. Do I want people to ask for estimates? Do I want them to have more awareness of what I do so they can share information about me with potential customers? The truth is I don't know, beyond the fact that my work needs a home, and I need to share it.
The truth is that proofing, editing, and writing make me happy. And I am increasingly finding that doing what makes me happy, even if I have to forego some sleep or compress my other commitments into even tighter compartments, creates a kind of cool energy that staves off exhaustion.
The Big Green Pen. I'll use it to write a better 2010.
I'll "run" into you next week!