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CreatAthon: the fallout

Check it out: I got some press from press release I sent to the University of Waterloo! I guess the general press release that I wrote wasn’t too bad after all—it generated articles in the Exchange Morning Post and the Waterloo Record. I really learned a lot about PR and event organizing last week.

Fortunately, the CreateAthon went off without a hitch. We provided our 11 clients with new materials that they’re really going to enjoy. I had some great help from our freelancer, Greg, our Sales Manager’s husband, Steve, and our other copywriter, Lindsay, returned from maternity leave to stop by and help. Greg came to help for one hour but stayed for four—he wrote the new website for the KW Seniors Day Program. Steve wrote two brochures for us, Lindsay wrote one brochure, and I wrote five posters (two for the Waterloo Region Block Parent Program and three for the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Working Against Youth Violence Everywhere (WAYVE) program), two brochures (one for the Eating Disorder Awareness Coalition of Waterloo Region and one for the Special Olympics of Kitchener Waterloo), two funding request letters (both for the Block Parent Program), a radio script (for the Christian Family Counselling Centre), and I edited everything else. Good times! (Seriously!) 

Anyway, it was a very worthy event but I was simply shattered afterwards. I think the entire creative team really hit the wall around 6am, but I was impressed with our Art Directors and our Creative Directors ability to discuss the materials with clients at the 7:30am official unveiling. Personally, I was too tired to speak with clients at that point . . . plus, the way I figured it, who would want to talk to the writer anyway?

Some important professional lessons I learned while being responsible for the writing of 11 projects in 24 hours.

1. Make sure everyone is on the same page. When the deadline is a tight one like this, it’s imperative that everyone constantly communicates the status of their work to Project Managers.

2. Don’t take criticism personally. If the clock is ticking on a tight deadline like this, people are bound to get stressed out and say things that they might not normally say. Keep the context of the situation (i.e., high stress) at the top of your mind and show some empathy for the other person’s position.

3. Save yourself for the official unveiling. My biggest regret from the CreateAthon was not speaking with the clients more about the materials I helped generate for them. I was tired, grumpy, and I felt gross. Hindsight is 20/20 but if I ever have the opportunity to do something like this again, I am going to ensure that I speak with the clients about the work I’ve done for them.

4. Drink lots of coffee and eat. Thanks to Tim Horton’s for generously sponsoring our event—the coffee was really the glue that brought the whole project together . . . Okay that might be overdramatic but it really did help. Actually, we had some awesome team members who donated the entire evening to baking lasagna for dinner and lots of cookies and snacks, so those were just as important as the coffee.

5. Thank the people you worked with. I made a point of personally thanking my colleagues who motivated me, worked with me, fed me, and put up with me for those 24 hours. There is nothing more validating than some genuine thanks.

Well that’s enough for now *yawn*. I need some more sleep.

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