Monday, September 26, 2011

Writing Opportunities

Sometimes when you least expect it, a writing opportunity may present itself.  Because I volunteer at Arboretum, the State Botanical Garden of Kentucky, several employees know that I’m a writer.  Recently, the education coordinator asked for my help.  In a few weeks, the Arboretum will be sponsoring the annual fall festival.  Volunteers will dress up as woodland creatures and plants and greet young children.  They will give short talks that describe who they are and what they contribute.

My job was to spruce up the old scripts of a deer, a spider, a sunflower, a skunk, and a tree.  The education coordinator envisioned livelier speeches. She wanted the scripts written in first person and kept to 300 words.  Then the rest was up to me. 

I decided that each script should have a hook, which would create interest and engage the audience.  Though I had a restricted word count, I still wanted to make sure that I had a beginning, a middle, and an ending.  (My nonfiction writing has taught me well).  I conducted a little more research, added it to the passages, and rearranged the order of paragraphs for clarity.  Lastly, as with any nonfiction writing, I tied the ending to the beginning.  Beforehand, these pieces ended abruptly.  With the new endings, the speeches had a more satisfying conclusion.

I suppose the biggest challenge was getting inside the heads of the animals and plants—come on, what would a tree think and say?  But actually, it was quite fun.  In fact, my tree had a bit of an attitude.

It's nice taking a break from writing nonfiction articles and picture books and trying something different.  Maybe you'll have an opportunity to attempt something new, too.  But you might ask: What’s in it for me when I share my writing talent with others?  Perhaps you’ll find it offers you practice and inspiration.  Maybe it will lead to another assignment.  It's a given it'll showcase your skills and quite possibly, help to get your name better known.  For me, writing these scripts fueled my imagination and made me feel good about helping a worthwhile organization.  How about you?  Are you willing to help others with your writing talent?  Are you willing to take advantage of the writing opportunities that may come your way?

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