On a weekly basis I both write press releases and receive them for consideration. It’s an odd thing, to be determining what news gets published on one hand and to be vying for coverage on the other. Obviously, I don’t write for any publications that would cover the stories I write releases on, but on some level, it feels like I’m cheating. Like I have my feet on both sides of two battlegrounds.

When it comes down to it, however, it’s all just writing. And it’s writing that I love to do. Whether I’m writing a press release about a downtown merchant who is growing or writing feature article investigating downtown parking trends in Ann Arbor, I’ve managed to carve out my writing niche. I write about development. Community, downtown and personal development. I do all of those. I just hadn’t figured out if it’s OK to write from multiple perspectives, or how to market myself if it is.

Look, it's Natalie Burg, Sole Proprietor of Something. Don't think I didn't feel badly about cropping Mike out of this photo. It was from our engagement shoot! I know! I'm the worst!

It’s the question that has kept me as Natalie Burg, Sole Proprietor for the last year. I’ve been doing communications work on “both sides” of spectrum the whole time, but always introducing myself as a former DDA director or simply a writer. I am both, but neither really explain what I do for a living very well.

This state of limbo could have gone on indefinitely, but then I was invited to speak at the Michigan Association of Planning‘s annual conference in Grand Rapids. I am super excited about this. But what am I going to do? Present as Natalie Burg, MPA, Writer of Some Things You’ll Probably Find Useful? No, no. It’s time for me to figure out who I am, what I’m doing and what is going on my business card. Do I write for communities or about them?

The answer is that I do both. And I like doing both, so that’s what I’m going to do. I don’t want to change who I am or what I’m doing, I just want to better define myself. And thus, Vial Half Full Communications was born. Actually, it was born a long time ago, in my head. It was a logical extension of the “say good things” tagline I had going on this site already, and includes my favorite of all rhetorical devices, the pun. Now, my name is not yet Natalie Vial, and it’s true that the name will be a lot more “punny” once it is, but it’s been waiting in the wings for awhile. In fact, I decided on it before Mike and I were even engaged, but I held on to it. Rolling it out any earlier would have been a tad presumptuous, not to mention totally crazypants.

It's delightful, isn't it? Alisa Bobzien Designs, folks. Use her.

But now it’s OK, several trusted sources have assured me (Mike among them). The best thing about Vial Half Full is that it’s the best kind of brand – the kind that doesn’t determine your identity, but simply explains it. I’m not going to choose between which side of the development coin I’m on. Vial Half Full Communications defines my commitment to positive, uplifting and meaningful writing that makes a difference to communities. I just branded me. Well, “we” just branded me. It helps to have a trusted and talented graphic designer who has known you since Girl Scout Troop #566 in second grade. Alisa Bobzien‘s beautiful work really added life to what I’m trying to say about who I’m trying to be: me. Awesome work, Lise.

And welcome to Vial Half Full.

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