I messed up.
This summer, a few weeks before my seminar in Cambridge, I contacted the Features Editor at the Cambridge News, the major paper in the city, to see if I could get a story done about the event. I'd done my homework, found out who the right person was to talk to, wrote a letter outlining who I was and why I was speaking, and sent it on its way.
But the implication that I sent an "outline" of sorts might not be too accurate. For some reason, when I typed up my little spiel, I was feeling particularly chatty. And verbose. And descriptive. My letter was more than a page long - and contained bits about lupus, bits about me, bits about my book, and bits about the lupus community in Cambridge. There were so many little bits - I'm sure the Editor didn't even know where to start. I'm not saying the information wasn't pertinent - it just wasn't presented in a succinct manner. And I'm sure my little dissertation wasn't ever read. I bet it wasn't even scanned for highlights. (Although for the record, I did BOLD a few important phrases.)
My hunch, however, is that a set of bullet points would have gotten a scan. Maybe even a second glance. Maybe even a call back. And maybe even an article.
Hard to say, but sometimes, I think people might be more receptive to a bullet point version of our lives with lupus, rather than taking in our whole life's story in one fellow swoop, know what I mean? (Again for the record, I don't normally bore people to tears with my saga, and I'm sure you don't either - but I do have the advantage of just referring them to my book. Who knows what I'd want to include if I wasn't published?!) But I definitely see the value in doing a shorter, to the point version in some (if not most) situations. If I had to present my case, my personal bullet points would look something like this:
*Diagnosed at 26 years old.
*Didn't adjust well - kept fighting the disease, rather than listening to my body.
*Got really sick. Struggled to put one foot in front of the other. Literally.
*Learned from my past mistakes of feeling invincible, and made some major lifestyle changes.
*Downshifted at work, tried new, heavy duty medication, slept more and did less. Like, a lot less.
*Saw the benefit of those changes almost immediately - and decided to tell other people about it.
*Wrote a book, started a blog, and continued to strive for health and wellness. Every day, all year long.
*Got well enough to have a baby, and then another. Never lost sight of the need to take care of myself.
*Continue to put my health first - asking for help, resting when I need it, and managing my life in an effort to be well enough to take care of munchkins #1 and 2.
The next time you think about telling your long, sordid lupus story, maybe try the bullet point approach. You might get some press, or at least more than a blank stare!