Thursday, May 17, 2007

Spring Sales Meeting

by Kristine Coblitz

When I worked at my last office job, we used to have a yearly sales meeting. It happened every spring, and it was a big event. We’re talking months of planning and schedule coordinating. The corporate honchos would provide breakfast and lunch. All the sales reps would fly into Pittsburgh. It was the only time of the year when the entire staff was together in one spot.

I’ve heard this is common practice at magazines, although some of the more glitzy publications actually have their meetings at tropical resorts or at fun places like Las Vegas. Our staff, however, had to settle for donuts in a conference room, but hey, even that was a treat.

Anyway, at the meeting, we would all sit down and take stock of how things were going. Were we meeting our goals? What wasn’t working? What was working? How could we make things better? Which advertisers needed extra attention? It would be a grueling day, and by 4:00 p.m., even the sugar rush of the left-over donuts didn’t help.

I was never a fan of these meetings, and honestly, I found them to be a waste of time. By the next day, it was business as usual. Nothing changed from year to year. The brainstorming sessions were long forgotten as we were more concerned with catching up on all the e-mails and work that was left behind from the day before than implementing anything new.

But then I got to thinking, how can I use this concept in my writing?

Spring is a great time for evaluation, so I plan my own version of the Spring Sales Meeting now. I gather my characters together. I bring reference materials in the form of my outline and synopsis. I take stock of where I am in my writing and look to my characters for input on how to make things better. And yes, I order lunch for myself as a treat, although I’ve skipped the donuts because they aren’t very figure friendly for a writer who spends her time sitting on her butt all day long.

I invite you all to schedule a Spring Sales Meeting for the sake of your writing. What would you do during the meeting? Who would you invite? Where would you have it?


Joyce said...

I'm afraid if I scheduled a meeting, none of my characters would show up. If they did, they'd probably end up taking over. I can see it now.

"I have a great idea for the next chapter," I say. I go on to explain it.

"You have got to be kidding," Summer says. "There's no way I'm going to do that."

"Me neither," Bad Guy says.

There's a chorus of "Nos" from the other characters, too. Then they all get up and walk out.

End of meeting. Sigh. At least I tried.

Tory said...

Joyce: you should have remembered the doughnuts!

While I've been off work, I've done a Spring house-tasking. I've been doing all those little, annoying tasks that can wait but tend to wait for months and even years. Like dental appointments, or getting a replacement for the brooken second keyless remote for my car BEFORE the first one breaks, too. Yeah, it could wait, but I'll sure be grateful when the first one breaks to have my second one already!

Does that count?

Nancy said...

Kristine, I think I'm having my spring sales meeting-----only it's called Revisions!

Tory, taking care of a problem before it's a problem? What planet did you grow up on? Because you could make some money setting up bus trips there.

Anonymous said...

Joyce: Even if your characters don't stick around, your meeting still counts. Your scene sort of sounds like how it was at the corporate meetings. LOL!

I'm surprised no one is jumping on the chance to have a meeting at a tropical resort. Money is no object during this exercise, you know.