What happens when the Harley writer gets involved in a focus group for young and new riders? She writes her first line that doesn't suck as much as those of the last seven months (in the words of Luke Sullivan). It's simple, and to those who don't write for a living, it probably seems a small feat to have written two sentences. But for the first time, those two sentences say exactly what I want them to say, both in words and tone of voice.
Being asked questions as a rider, and as a member of the target audience, was enlightening and allowed me some clarity in what I was trying to say. It may not make it through the copious amounts of revisions, and even if it does go to print, will be thrown in the trash 90% of the time. But for the 10% that keep the piece and read it, I sincerely hope it resonates, making them drawn to act. I believe in what I wrote. Perhaps that's what the old "write about what you know" advice is really saying. Write about what you believe.
It's here! The International Motorcycle Convention began last night at 4:30 pm and my team and I stopped by for an hour to check out the scene. Call it primary research. We talked to Jason, a Harley dealer from Iowa, about Harley's competition with bikes and MotorClothes. Apparently no one compares to the clothes. Sweet. And that was pretty obvious after noting the large amount of people walking around in their H-D leather and t-shirts. One girl had leather chaps on--does that keep you warm in the winter?
We watched a stunt show with some guys on Kawasakis (I think) and I have to say, it was pretty sweet. After fifteen minutes of this, we were kind of over the whole scene and decided we'd gotten enough of an idea of who these people are. Melissa and I followed our noses to the roasted almonds booth and snacked as we made one final lap around the convention. She and I left with a picture of ourselves on a bike with Flo from Progressive, a tire gauge, a flashlight and a t-shirt as well as a giant Progressive tote bag. I'd say, given my affinity toward free office supplies and swag, it was a successful night. And with that we left the convention and drove home.
I've been writing for MotorClothes for just over a month and I never realized how strong a following there is for Harley. I mean, most of the designs aren't really my style what with the skulls and butterflies (what?) and orange & black. But I have grown to love the people who love Harley. While writing the women's collection earlier in January, I found Women Riders Now, a non-brand-specific website (and magazine?) for female riders. They feature "Why I Ride" stories and while all of them are important, there was one woman who made some excellent points. Emily Bracken wrote about the intangible reasons people buy and ride motorcycles, especially hogs. "Going fast is far superior to going slow, the only way to face fear is to feel fear, and the only truth is the present." She states, powerfully. And until I get on a bike, I will just have to take her word for it.