Five things about writing…a culmination of things remembered and reinforced this week
September 23, 2010 § 15 Comments
1. Communicate with your editor. Really. People think editors are unreachable. Writers think editors are ignoring them. Learn how to talk with them. They do respond. And if you have a question or you’re running late with something for a legitimate reason, communicate.
And if you don’t have an editor but you’re a writer, communicate with your inner editor. See what it has to say and listen, consider what it’s saying. (It’s likely your writer’s instinct talking.)
2) You are writing a story. You don’t think it’s a story, but you’re told to create one out of an idea that may have come from a roundtable of non-writers. (People who don’t actually write are often GREAT at ideas, but have no idea the extreme craft that can go into making something out of one of their (crazy out-there) ideas. You know it’s true. You’ve seen enough movies/TV shows where you’ve said “Huh? How did that make it onto the screen?”)
So as a writer, it’s your responsiblity to turn an assignment, often someone else’s idea, into readable excellence. Or, say “no” if you can’t do it. Sometimes, you can’t. So just say “no.”
3.) Some things can be written quickly and sent out there. Most need time. Do not be afraid to approach the “written quickly’s” and do the best you can. Sometimes (only sometimes) writing something and getting it done is better than procrastinating, fooling around, sweating.
4) Proofing takes a village. So what that the piece is only 300 words? Get several people to proof it; they will each find something different – the wrong date on it, misspelling of an addressee’s name, a double “the” in a sentence….Just take the time to pass it around; don’t be afraid to ask such a favor. Most who are asked to read/proof something (short) will be flattered.
5) Be careful, on the other hand, how much you ask someone to do regarding your article/story. Are you sure you want them to critique it? Do they know what you mean by that? You may get a lot more, or a lot less, than you asked for unless you work out what you want as well as a timeframe in which you need it back. Be clear, be specific, be ready.