Write Part of My Memoir in November, Day 20: Hacks and Flacks

Write Part of My MemoirWelcome to Day 20 of my memoir challenge. Two-thirds of the way there!

It takes me a while to ease into writing in the morning. I read emails, link to the articles that turn up in the emails, check Facebook, post my last blog post on Facebook and Twitter and sometimes on LinkedIn and Google Plus.

Finally, I turn off my email and social media, set the kitchen timer on my desk to half an hour, and start writing. Kind of.

Take today.

During the first half hour I set aside for writing I:

  • Went to the bathroom. Because now that I was on the clock, I suddenly had to go.
  • Re-read everything I’d written the day before and the day before that — maybe a week’s worth of writing.
  • Started a synonym search.

I’m writing a section about press trips.  I realized I’d overused blah terms like “PR representative,” “PR person,” “marketing rep,” “marketing person.” What could I substitute for these phrases, something with a little flair?

The word “flack” suddenly came to mind. I hadn’t heard it used in a long time and wasn’t sure whether or not it was derogatory. The Urban Dictionary defined it: “Someone whose job is to represent an organization and answer questions about it, especially when something bad has happened.” Hmm. That didn’t seem to have any negative connotations. I still wasn’t sure.

  • Brought the question to Facebook — not just on one but on three forums.

Yup, definitely derogatory was the consensus. Several people noted that “hacks” for journalists is the equivalent to “flacks” for PR people.

  • “Liked,” thanked, and explained to everyone who participated– on three forums —  that, really, I thought flack was derogatory too. I blamed the Urban Dictionary for my waffling.

Oops. There was that half an hour shot and I didn’t even have a good synonym to show for it.

  • Spent the next half hour blogging about the half hour I spent working on one phrase.

Anyone have a good neutral synonym for “PR person”?  “Procrastinator”?

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About the Author

Edie Jarolim is a writer and editor living in Tucson, Arizona. Sign up on this blog to get updates about her humorous tell-all/memoir, GETTING NAKED FOR MONEY: An Accidental Travel Writer Reveals All.

3 Enlightened Replies

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  1. I missed your original social media queries about a PR synonym, so here’s my belated ones. Depending on the usage: PR specialist, publicist, corporate communications, handler, media wrangler, company face, contact, spokesperson, media manager, PR pro, and (more pejoratively) spinmeister and corporate shill, come to mind.

    As for procrastinating, I have a couple mug designs if you want ’em. My favorite sayings came from an aunt of mine, uttered in a single phone conversation: “I’ve perfected procrastination!” and “I’ll get to it when I feel like it!” http://www.cafepress.com/designthinking/9388133

  2. Kate Kaemerle says:

    Media relations and communications manager are some other job titles for PR people.

    What is this chapter going to be called – Hacks & Flacks? 😉

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