How?

How to Write a Policy Memo

First, figure out what a policy memo is. Because “policy” is one of those things that turns your brain off, makes you fear that all your inadequacies will be revealed under a blinding, white-hot light. Like the instruction: “For questions 9 through 24, use of a graphing calculator is permitted.” Next, learn something about the subject of the policy memo you’ve been tasked to write. Which you probably — surely — should already know but really you don’t. And please refer back to Impostor Syndrome fear noted above. Then follow the instructions laid out on the eHow page you found on writing policy memos. Because eHow really helped when you wanted to learn about sewing a kick pleat, about writing a cover letter. Clearly you can trust eHow for all things. Discard your first draft. All those words! All those strange, floating ideas supported by nothing, anchored to even less. Start over … and maybe stop saying the words “policy memo” in your head. And start over. This time, remembering that you know things, have been in this field a long time, and maybe POLICY isn’t some shaggy, tusked and fanged monster licking it’s glistening lips over your vulnerable underbelly. And start over. Remembering that you have data, can add a table or a graph, that the world won’t end if this isn’t the final draft. Proof before you seek comment … because you know that when you want to say “one city,” your fingers betray your brain and type “onceity,” as if, in the great onceity of time, you had any clue how to write a policy memo. Back away from the computer. Go home for the weekend.

I won’t lie: this one I like. For true. It seemed to fall right out of my brain — and my current work reality, obviously — and pieces that do that always have a soft place in my heart. Does this mean I’ve had some amazing prose poem breakthrough? Not likely, but I did enjoy working on this.


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Are you writing poems this month? Where can I see them? Let’s share this craziness!

As I did last year, I’ll be following along with the Poem-A-Day challenge at Robert Lee Brewer’s Poetic Asides Blog. Today’s prompt is to write a poem for which “how” is the first word of your title. Clearly today’s poem should have been yesterday’s (and should also have been a list poem?). You can post your daily poems on Brewer’s page. The top poem from each day will be included in an anthology later this year!

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2 thoughts on “How?

  1. Maureen Hossbacher

    This one I like too. Briliiant. Profound. Entertaining. Useful. Innumerable explicators of policy will be grateful to you.

    Like

  2. I agree with entertaining. To feel it read like a Buzzfeed article on the subject. As I enjoy Buzzfeed’s often humorous takes on serious subjects, I promise this is a compliment.

    Like

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