Friday, September 16, 2011

The bullet points of lupus

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!

2 comments:

sbo said...

thank you so much.
sbobet

kasia said...

I have just discovered your blog and it is truly the answer to my prayers. It is like you are writing about my life....to such precision that its scary! Thank you so much...it is so wonderful to know I'm not crazy, and to give my family/friends a resource to explain how I feel!