Every time I open my laptop/mobile to write something, I rack my brains over how I can make my story interesting or how I can keep my readers enthralled.
Perks of being a content writer/storyteller, I presume.
But when I joined the content team in 2015, little did I know that I would go on to become the content manager in 2018.
And that by far was the most humongous task I ever took on.
Ever since that had happened, I had always wanted to document my experience. So that I can reread it in the future, laugh at my decisions and cry over the memories.
So here it is…
This is my story of how I succeeded/failed to hold my 40 member team in place to take on Excel — India’s second oldest techno-managerial fest hosted by my college.
What is Excel?
Excel, the nation’s second and South India’s first ever fest of its kind started in 2001 by the students of Govt. Model Engineering College with a motto, Inspire, Innovate, Engineer. Over the years, Excel has grown exponentially, consistently playing host to some of the most talented students, the most illustrious speakers and the most reputed companies. Now gearing towards its 19th edition, Excel continues to excite the participants with its wide array of technical and non-technical events and with a promise to live up to its motto. What sets Excel apart is the drive towards delivering excellence. The fest is renowned for its quality, dynamism and active participation.
So what did that mean?
My job was to primarily write stuff just like the one I posted above. All the 20 core members of Excel 2018 were responsible for the body and the features and I, for the communication.
I was to lead, manage and delegate work to the 40 writing moguls that I had found all of MEC, the next “Rahul Kaushiks” , “Nikita Singhs” and Your Story editors”, if you will.
Welcome to the content team, folks. A platform where spontaneity, vocabulary and creativity come together to produce magic.
(Or that’s what is intended)
Most people consider content to be secondary. An additional tool in the box which holds no purpose but to complement every poster, brochure, mail that goes out. When I set out to become the content manager, there were a lot of things that I wanted to change.
Well, you can’t blame them, content has been seen as nothing short of an underdog, people just normally assume it falls off from the sky, just like that.
On another note, I sometimes do think, that is how it works. 😂
It just comes to you out of nowhere. You get what I’m saying?
Luckily my fellow organising committee members were very supportive of my needs and we existed in a mutually beneficial relationship. You learn to adapt, let go and survive. Such are the benefits of working together towards a common goal.
“Content is Everywhere”
This famous dialogue was passed on to me by Sharon Rachel Manu, the joint secretary for Excel 2017 who in turn heard it from Noel Abraham who was the content head for Excel 2016.
And if there is anything I want to add to this, it would be:
“And there is no running away from it, either”.
There is no such thing as WRITER’S BLOCK
Sometimes life travels at a faster pace than your mind. Things will go on, people will do their work and you are expected to deliver.
The deadlines start to fall one after the other in quick succession leaving you with literally no time for writer’s block. And which is why, I erased the phrase from my dictionary.
#lessonleanrt: The world stops for no one, so better prepare accordingly for it.
Communication is Key
Thanks to the advent of the internet, you could do all the content work anywhere and everywhere.
But sadly, most people(a.k.a my team) failed to take advantage of this.
#lessonlearnt Sometimes the benefits can backfire too.
Anyway, it meant that my team didn’t have to stay back after class and they could go about their stuff.
But on introspection, I have now come to the understanding that the benefit I thought would help backfired. We had very little interactions with each.
#lessonlearnt: Meeting your team occasionally goes a long way in forging stinger bonds and encouraging your team to perform better.
Suppose you have a ton of work and since you have a huge team, you start to delegate your work. But you are in for a surprise for it turns out everyone around you is busy citing reasons that you are currently facing too. How do you counter this situation?
Point to be noted: This is the ultimate test of your patience, leadership, delegation and personal development skills.
I even found answers to this. Such was my learning!#privy_to_valuable_information
To know what I did, you will have to talk to me directly. I won’t write it here for it’s much too valuable.
Say what you will, writing is hard but it is equally rewarding.
That moment when what you have written goes viral and people share your content, there is nothing quite like it. Let’s face it, we are all a bit narcissistic anyway. A little ego boosting never hurt anyone. 😬
As Shakespeare once wrote (sonnet 18)
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
Your writing is immortal. And if that doesn’t fascinate you, I don’t know what will.
New Roles mean New Responsibilities
Forget the chicken or the egg puzzle, I have another question for you?
Is writing the hardest job out there for a “writer” or editing?
Writing and editing are so intertwined that you can’t edit if you don’t know how to write and if you write, you can’t know how not to edit.
But there is a catch, when you become an editor, you are forced to be responsible for the work of art. Your decisions can make or break the piece.
There were times when I longed to be an editor. And now that I am one, I wish I could go back in time where I only had to worry about my writing and have someone else fret over the editing.
Laziness is also of such vital importance here. As much as I want it, I won’t be proof reading this text plainly because sometimes I’m just lazy. So if you find mistakes, please ignore them. ;P
Pressure, Priorities and Progress
Dealing with a lot of pressure is a given, when you take on any kind of work. Prioritising becomes important. The satisfaction you receive at the end is worth the struggle.
I learnt how not to micromanage ( that was the hardest thing ever!). I figured that I was not as short tempered as I made myself to be. My people managing skills were awfully polished by the end of the whole deal.
#lessonleanrt Experience teaches you things you didn’t know about yourself.
Why All of it Matters?
It was when I started filling out application forms for numerous scholarships and colleges did I figure out why it matters.
I didn’t have to find answers to all the essay prompts and questions. The answers found their way to me.
Through this little quest of mine, I had learnt how to face my fears, meet impossible deadlines (well…almost), work with diverse people and get work done! The learning curve is so steep, you will be left shocked.
And this is why college admission committees give importance to extra curricular acivities. I’m just using writing here as an example because that is my “extra curricular” activity. Find out yours.
Finding Your Inner Passion
You may not have noticed it. But behind every sentence, structure and word, there lies a motive.
Every full stop rightly in place to convey a specific meaning.
Whatever be the process, the end goal is always the same. Flatter the audience. Make them laugh and cry with you.
Words hold so much power over you. It’s only a matter of time before you realise it.
I tried my best to get work done in the most efficient manner possible. I failed at times and I succeeded too.
I did learn a great deal. And For that I’ll always be grateful.
At the end of the day, I did it because it mattered to me. Simple as that.
But as we all know this is just the beginning and I have a long way to ago. But I’ve atleast begun, have you ?
*PS: I can’t help it. I like leaving thought proving questions at the end of my posts 🙈
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