And That's All She Wrote (Why I write)

Dan Schwartz of the outstanding Connecticut Employment Law Blog tagged me (among others) last week to participate in a “blog hop,” where we all talk about ourselves – what we do, and why.

I have decided to do this in the form of a micro-novel.

"Here is why I write what I write," she wrote.

What am I working on?

“I always wanted to write a great novel,” Robin said, listlessly munching the last shards of crushed ice in her Diet Coke.

“Really?” He was surprised; she did not seem the type. “What about?”

 

The Thinker
"I have no clue."

 

She gazed thoughtfully out the window. “That’s the problem. I don't know,” she said. “So I guess I’ll have to keep blogging about employment law topics, with special emphasis on the Americans with Disabilities Act, sexual harassment, and celebrity employment law scandals and how we can all learn from their bad example.”

“Well, that’s better than nothing, I guess,” he said, trying to keep things light.

“It’ll have to do,” she sighed.

How does my writing differ from others of its genre?

Robin liked to think that she was pithy and witty, but her bravado masked the fear that she was nothing special and that all of the other employment law bloggers were better.

 

Genius_Bar,_SoHo_Apple_Store,_September_2003
She feared that the other employment law bloggers were smarter and better than she.

 

Why do I write what I write?

“Why do I write what I write?” she pondered. That was the question. Well, she was an employment lawyer, so there was that. She had neither the profundity required to be a novelist, nor the attention span required to be the author of a great legal treatise. On the other hand, Anthony Weiner’s compulsive need to tweet his intimate parts, or Lady Gaga crashing and burning in an FLSA deposition – the power of these stories impelled her. As if an alien force had taken possession of her, blog posts about such topics seemed to write themselves.

How does my process work?

That entire week, Robin scoured Bloomberg BNA’s Daily Labor Report, Employment Law360, the London Daily Mail, TMZ, and the New York Post.

 

Genius.Maud,_by_Julia_Margaret_Cameron
"Oh, what on earth shall I write about this week?"

 

“Eureka!” she exclaimed at 3:14 p.m. Thursday, seeing that an employer who had fired an hourly employee for pilfering a $1.37 bag of potato chips had settled its Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuit with the EEOC for $180,000. Joyfully slamming her laptop shut, she skipped out to her car and drove the seven minutes to her home, where she could work in solitude. At 10 p.m., her fingertips were sore from her frenetic typing, linking, and searching Wikimedia Commons for uncopyrighted photos to which she could append humorous captions that complemented her post. Her eyelids were lead weights. Calling it a night, she put the laptop to sleep and went to bed with her faithful cat, Spot*, curled up by her side.

*Name has been changed to protect his privacy.

She awoke before the alarm and daylight, her mind aroil in an eddy of edits that had occurred to her during her fitful sleep. She quickly brewed a pot of coffee (strong and black, like the Abadi MT Condensed Bold font that she wished Wordpress would allow her to use). She cleaned out Spot’s litter box, and then was back at the laptop, cleaning up the mess that she’d written the night before.

By 8:30, she was hungry. She gratefully ate the previous night's leftovers, which soaked up the black coffee that had been sloshing in her stomach since 5 a.m.

One last review. No typos? “Publish.”

Then a tweet and a LinkedIn post, and she was done with blogging for another week. Back to work. Her clients awaited.

FIN

Epilogue: Please check out my blogging friends

I tag Jason Shinn of the Michigan Employment Law Advisor, who provides excellent and readable coverage of employment law matters, both inside and out of Michigan.

And Heather Bussing of HRExaminer, who provides always-insightful discussion of the legal and philosophical side of Human Resources.

Finally, but not least, I tag Mark Toth of The Employment Blawg. ("Even though Mark was on hiatus for the summer, Robin hoped that he might cut his break short to explain why he writes, or at least give her something to look forward to when he returned in the fall.")

Robin Shea has 30 years' experience in employment litigation, including Title VII and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act (including the Amendments Act). 
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