One of the things I loved most about life as a newspaper and radio journo was the surprise element.
The adrenalin-pumping anticipation of not knowing what the day might bring, where the next story might lead and how it would change your life.
When parenthood, and the needs of three small children born in quick succession necessitated a change in career to the more ‘family-friendly’ freelance writing and public relations, I feared losing that buzz.
I questioned whether it could fuel my addiction for that thrill of the chase.
As a journo, the stories you cover stay with you forever. Some are good, and some are horrendously bad.
Ones like the horrific car crash I covered as 21-year-old cadet, that spared the life of a mother, but claimed those of her six-month-old baby, two small children and partner. My photographer and I were first on the scene and I’ll never erase that image of the occupied baby capsule on the side of the road and the car’s shattered front windscreen through which it had flown.
There was also the story of the brainless young country boys who dug up the corpse of a recently buried 95-year-old great grandmother and cut off her hands in a vile and senseless act of boredom.
Covering the court round revealed depressing stories too numerous to count. The sickening child sex offender who broke into the homes of his young victims at night and performed his hideous acts by the light of a candle he carried; the jealous lover who set fire to the home of his ex-girlfriend and partner and left them burn to their deaths; and the repeat drug trafficking mother of eight standing in the dock before the magistrate, time and time again, while her poor babies watched on – those early learned behaviours setting them up for a life cycle of similar tragedy.
In the land of freelancing and PR, there is still a buzz – you never know what the universe might throw at you next. But for me, there is one glaring difference – it’s a happy buzz.
We get to tell the good news stories. We get to talk about the joyful stuff.
Don’t get me wrong – I got to do a bit of that during my time working in the print and broadcast media, but it was miniscule compared to the tales of sadness.
These days I get to write about the light-workers – the miracle-minded folk out there working to change the world for the better. And it’s a good fit for me. It feels right.
Take today for example. This morning we put the final touches to 4000 words of fresh new website content spruiking the virtues of a dynamic, trailblazing organisation in town, and this afternoon we traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah (virtually of course) to chat with an Aussie manufacturer making his mark globally.
That was today – working from home in beautiful EM.
Tomorrow – well who knows?
But one thing I am sure of, is that each new day spreading The Splendid Word love brings with it extraordinary adventure and an exhilarating buzz.
For all the right reasons.
No doubt, like us, you’ve been filling your summer days reading some of those books from your bedside pile.
The beach, or poolside, is the perfect location to steal a few chapters without the distraction of work or domestic chores.
This past week I’ve been reading The Odyssey by Homer while on the beach and in between lifeguard duties for the kids. It’s been on my pile for years and I’m really enjoying this ancient tale.
My current bedtime read is Dame Jane Goodall’s biography, Reason for Hope. It’s incredibly inspiring to read of Jane’s lifetime dedication to studying chimpanzees; she is certainly an amazing lady and I would strongly recommend you add it to your pile.
Really good biographies are hard to find and I’m always searching for recommendations.
Speaking of which, we’d love to see what you’re reading over the summer break or if you have any suggestions for the perfect ‘summer read’.
This time last year I was burning the midnight oil with The Light Between Two Oceans by ML Stedman which I recommended continually throughout 2014. It was the perfect summer read: fast moving, lovely to read, not too long and devastatingly sad.
Whatever you’re reading this summer, enjoy every word.
@The Splendid Word
Image courtesy of Pinterest
At The Splendid Word we help many local businesses and organisations – large or small – in their endeavours to share their story and spread the word about the good work they’re doing.
We’ve helped the Campaspe One & All Inclusion Project tell its story on many occasions and have assisted with various funding and award applications.
We’d like to wholeheartedly congratulate the amazing group of people involved with this unique and life-changing project on its nomination in the recently-announced Regional Achievement and Community Awards.
One & All finished in the top three of the Community Group of the Year category and we were thrilled to assist with the words for their application.
Inclusion can be contagious and the One & All crew has thanked the entire Echuca Moama community for getting on board and sharing their ‘inclusive’ ideals.
Outgoing project officer Jacqui Davies described the achievement as one “the whole community can be proud of”.
Jacqui commented on our wider community’s “inclusive excellence” and I don’t think there are enough communities in this country, or in fact the world, who can make this claim.
Total ‘inclusiveness’ does not come easily for many and it’s an ongoing education process for all of us to truly understand and have empathy for those continually not ‘included’ within our community.
Bravo One & All for teaching us to become more inclusive of everyone within our community regardless of their ability, background, colour, age or gender.
And thank you for allowing us to share a small role in your project along the way.
To see what makes One & All tick head along to its annual Community Inclusion Day this Sunday and share in the inclusive community spirit.
We’ll see you there,
The Splendid Word xo
It’s been deadline city at The Splendid Word this month and we’re enjoying a (mostly) keyboard-free weekend to rest, restore and reconnect.
We’ve been copy-writing for some pretty cool regional and city-based websites, interviewing a stack of young dairy farmers for a series of features coming up in The Weekly Times, script-writing a bunch of health-related vignettes and television commercials, pumping out press releases for local government and not-for-profits, annual report writing for large business, speech writing, proof-reading and editing, editing, editing (any excuse to wield the almighty red pen).
We were especially chuffed to land an exciting collaborative gig this week working with Echuca Regional Health and Melbourne’s Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health on an exciting initiative that is changing the face of stroke management in rural and regional Victoria.
The Victorian Stroke Telemedicine project, which is being piloted at ERH, provides country-based stroke patients with increased access to the clot-busting medication thrombolysis.
Until now, country emergency departments have been restricted in administering the life-saving treatment as it requires detailed assessment to ensure a patient qualifies for its use.
Put plainly, without telemedicine, if you were to be treated for a stroke in a rural hospital, you would only be likely to get this clot-busting therapy half as often as you would if you went to a city hospital.
Through this new program, neurologists in Melbourne are now linked to mobile ‘telemedicine carts’ in rural emergency departments, giving high-quality audiovisual connection.
Telemedicine is providing a life-saving link between an emergency doctor in a rural or regional hospital and a neurologist in Melbourne (cool huh!).
Federal Health Minister Peter Dutton launched the $9 million Victorian Stroke Telemedicine Project in Melbourne on Thursday and we had a lot of fun putting together this short video-clip to be used as a showcase at the launch. Special thanks to George Santos for his exceptional audiovisual work on this neat little collaboration.
Oh how we love the enormous variety, the colour and the human-interest aspect of the work that crosses our path on a daily basis. And the fact that we get to do it all here in beautiful EM is kinda mind-blowing.
X Lee for TSW
I’m pumped and feeling motivated this week, with only two assignments to complete in a Diploma of Publishing and Editing. I’ve been plugging away at this course for nearly three years and I’m excited to finally tick the box and move onto the next challenge.
At the Splendid Word we are constantly learning new skills and standards relating to the written word. ‘Words’ are our thing and we never tire of gaining new knowledge about how and when to use them.
During my diploma it was fascinating to learn more about the editing and publishing world and we are now better equipped when it comes to developing business style guides and following new standards in professional writing.
For example the standard style for spaces between sentences after a full stop used to be two… now it’s one! You might not think this sort of stuff is cool, but it’s our job to know this type of inconspicuous detail. And if we don’t, who will?
Editing and proofing is very technical and the course certainly gave me a greater appreciation for detail in all forms of writing.
It has also inspired me to continue learning and I recently began a part-time Bachelor of Arts at La Trobe in Bendigo, majoring in creative writing.
I’m feeling a bit ‘out of my depth’ walking into a university lecture room for the first time in nearly 20 years, however I’m thrilled to be learning new skills and expanding my mind.
After all, we’re never too old to learn new skills… life is for learning, not knowing it all!
Wish me luck!
Image courtesy of lovewell-livewell.com
Confucius said ‘choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life’.
It might sound cliché, but does this famous saying relate to you and how you spend your time, most days of your working week, month after month, year after year?
Do you get up each and every morning and generally feel pleased about how you will spend your day – do you love your job?
Just this week, I was head-down and bum-up, neck-deep in deadline and only moved from my computer to get the kids to school, eat meals and pinch enough sleep to get by – but I absolutely loved every minute of the work I was doing.
And I used to think that sitting at my computer all day long (usually in my slippers) writing words for people and getting paid for it was actually only a figment of my imagination – just a dream.
But sometimes dreams do come true and this week I’ve been writing award submissions for inspiring graduate students from the Goulburn Ovens Institute of Tafe (GOTAFE).
Each and every student I interviewed has achieved enormous success through their studies despite coming from extremely different backgrounds, coping with varied personal circumstances and facing numerous challenges, including juggling work, study and family life.
However, they all shared a common goal to follow their passion and work towards a dream career.
Every student, regardless of age or background, had a passion to make the effort, put in the time and make sacrifices to achieve their study and career aspirations.
I was particularly inspired by the GOTAFE Student of the Year and a mother of two young children who worked four part-time jobs while studying full-time to graduate with a Diploma of Nursing. This amazing woman and active community member told me she loved learning and despite juggling so many other aspects in her life said ‘it never seemed like hard work’.
Another student gave up a successful Melbourne-based career for a ‘tree change’ where he began a full-time apprenticeship as a chef. He would often get up at 4am in the morning to squeeze in study, family life and work in the hospitality industry and again, said he loved every minute. He told me that ‘his life was a holiday’ – what a great outlook from a man who clearly loves what he does.
And it’s always about passion. If you are passionate about your work you’ll cop any criticism that comes your way, work 20 hours a day if you need (not all the time though) and make sacrifices to achieve your hopes, dreams and aspirations.
Having a clear passion and drive for success also makes us prioritise what’s important in our lives and when supported by those around us the ‘sky’s the limit’!
So, take the advice of our above mentioned students and take the next step to follow your dreams, enrol in that course, attend that information session and take the plunge!
Good luck following your dreams!
Christy for TSW xo
Shortly after attending yesterday’s Anzac Dawn Service on the banks of the Murray I posted this powerfully poignant photograph on social media to mark our most significant day of national remembrance.
I selected the image randomly from a cast of thousands on the Internet as something about it touched my soul.
Only now have I discovered the story behind this compelling image and the personal significance it holds.
My dear cousin – whom I grew up with, went right through school with and who is now a Major with the Australian Army – contacted me after seeing the image on my page.
This brilliant man, married with a gorgeous young family, snapped this very photograph in the poppy field whilst on duty in Afghanistan in 2007.
Oh the degrees of separation – how I love it when the universe speaks………..
X Lee for TSW
If someone asked me to identify the potential occupational hazards I might come up against during a standard day on the job as a freelance writer and communications consultant, I’d probably rattle off a bunch of inane things like writer’s cramp, short deadlines, self-imposed income goals, lack of sleep, poor posture, neck pain or carpal tunnel syndrome caused by repeatedly clicking on my mouse and using my keyboard.
What I wouldn’t dream of – not in a gazillion years – would be the potential for the following scenario to unfold.
But this is exactly what went down today on location with The Splendid Word.
I trotted off to my lunchtime meeting with a client – who just happens to work for a rather large organisation in town to whom we regularly consult.
We met and we talked words, just like we do every other Monday.
And when our meeting was over I got up to leave.
Normally (on any other Monday) I would simply walk off down the stairs and out into the sunshine to continue along merrily with my day.
But not this Monday. Nooooooo. This Monday had something very special in store for me.
Not your writer’s cramp, short deadline type of special either. This one was a corker.
Whilst exchanging farewell pleasantries with the client (a member of the opposite sex, of course), I popped my bag over my head and to my sheer horror, the heavy leather strap dragged across the press studs of my ‘wrap-around’ skirt, ripping it clean open and off.
So there I was, standing on the management level of the building, full frontal to my client, in just my top, my high heels and my underwear. Said skirt lying in a crumpled heap at my feet on the ground.
Mortifying. Complete and utter.
For the both us…
Needless to say, I spent the rest of my day trying to regain my composure and my dignity – seeking solace from friends and loved ones who would tell me worse things could happen.
Of course they were right. But in that moment at the top of that staircase, looking down at my pitiful skirt on the floor, I swear it couldn’t have got much worse.
And so, I figure I have two options if I am going to go anywhere near repairing my bruised and battered ego and eradicating the cherry red flush that has stained my cheeks since lunchtime.
The first is to die of complete and utter embarrassment and never set foot inside that organisation again.
And the second is to do the only thing I know best. Turn it into a story and have the most enormous laugh at my own expense and invite you all to laugh along with me.
Ever thought about applying for an industry award but not had the time or skill set to write a killer submission?
In recent times The Splendid Word has written award submissions for many local businesses and organisations and we are proud to boast a pretty healthy success rate.
There’s little doubt the clients we’ve written for – including the Rochester and Elmore and District Health Service, Moama Bowling Club and Ecotecture Design Group – won their respective titles because they are awesome at what they do.
However, a well written award submission has a better chance at grabbing the judge’s attention than one that fails to deliver the all-important detail in a clear and concise manner.
Yes, it is about selling yourself and your talents and if you find this process difficult, we can help.
Applying for an award often provides clarity for your business goals and is a great way to acknowledge and reward outstanding effort within your team.
Check out our blog or Facebook page (via the link) for details about who we’ve helped and drop us a line or email for further information.
Enquiries for website words, Facebook posts, Twitter feeds and blogs are keeping us busy so far in 2014.
Since our inception in early 2011 we have whipped up website words for countless local businesses and crafted a number of communications strategies – an organised and professional plan for regular posts, feeds and blogs to share interesting and relevant client-based information.
We’ve all seen a Facebook post where little thought or preparation has gone into creating the right words or the relevance of its content – it’s not pretty.
‘Content is king’ and here at The Splendid Word we place much importance on the right words needed to market your business.
Also, there’s no point in having a fantastic website with loads of bells and whistles if you don’t have clear and concise content to tell the world exactly what you do and how good you are at doing it!
The same can also be said for the images and graphics you use on your website or Facebook post. It is so important to consider the exact image you want to portray and how it will be delivered.
It’s also worth considering that the ‘tone and feel’ of your website – depicted through your words, images and graphics – might just be the only impression prospective clients will see of you… so it better be great.
For a few examples of clients we’ve helped along the way check out our Splendid Lookbook or visit our Facebook page, Twitter feed or Instagram profile via our links.
We can also lead the way, with the help of Neil Greaves and his team at Vast Domains, to develop a quick and easy solution to link your website with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to save double handling.
Browse our website today for a look-see or drop us a line on 0409 239 577.
Christy and Leonie