When preparing a meal, cooks are always faced with the dilemma of what to do with leftover ingredients. These ingredients usually are perfectly good; they just didn’t make it into the recipe, or we bought more than we ended up using. We hate to throw them away, but sometimes it takes a bit of creativity to decide how best to use them.
The same holds true for writers. When researching an article on student activism, I learned about the remarkable story of 9-year-old Rachel Beckwith, who was trying to raise $300 to build wells in developing countries through a nonprofit organization called charity: water (www.charitywater.org) when she died following a tragic automobile accident. Word of her campaign spread, and now more than $1.2 million has been donated in her name. I wrote up a capsule summary of her story, got quotes from Rachel’s mom and the founder of charity: water, and used it as the lead for my longer article.
Then the editors decided they wanted a different slant for the article, emphasizing youngsters who were actively involved in projects rather than raising money for them. I found a new example and crafted a new lead, but I’ve still got this wonderful material about Rachel I’d like to use somehow. With that in mind, I’m looking at other markets for a separate article. Likewise, I have other recent instances where I’ve done interviews for an article and ended up using only a quote or two due to space constraints. I’m exploring ways to use some of that additional information in other ways as well.
Leftover food ingredients often can be combined and used in tasty ways we might never have imagined when we began preparing the original recipe. I hope the same thing may prove true for my writing leftovers!
Random Thought of the Week: Learning about the work of student activists gives me hope about the leadership this next generation may provide.