Wednesday, January 19, 2011

AAR's; A Chance to Get Out of the Office

AAR's, or After Action Reports, are my new favorite thing to write.  They top the list of writing assignments for one simple reason; you can't write an effective AAR without being out in the field!

I recently did an after action report on Elves Vs. Reindeer and it was one of the most engaging and entertaining writing assignment I've ever had.  It gave me a chance to talk to players, business owners and spectators.  I got to hit the paintball field and shoot of a few hundred rounds at opponents.  I got out in the rain and the mud and had a fun time doing something fun.

Writing is a great "pajama" job; there's no dress code when you're typing away on a laptop in the middle of the night.  But it's even better when it gives you an opportunity to meet other people, help to promote the businesses and causes that you believe in and give readers a little bit of insight into an event that they might have missed.  It inspires some to try something new and reignites the flame of people who are debating whether or not to sign up for the next event.

A good AAR should be as much fun to write as it is to read (and vice versa) .  More engaging than a "how-to", more action than a simple review and more engaging than a Q and A interview, if you haven't written an after action report on your favorite event series then you don't know what you're missing.  There are many AAR's and writing templates on the web to peruse if you're concerned about formatting, but don't worry too much about form (unless your prospective publisher has strict guidelines).  Instead, get out there.  Play a game, meet some people and then write about your experience.  Trust me, you'll love it!

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