I often do better “in writing” than “in person,” or speaking. Or at least I believe that’s the case. Sometimes. Except when it’s not the case. But no matter. Back to that writing bit.
I’ve had the opportunity to do some writing beyond my writer’s group–which, when I’m lucky and actually submit things, sometimes results in an essay or two. But this new opportunity has been along the lines of PR-ish type business profiles for a local magazine. (MY magazine…feel free to pick it up, then say Debbie sent you when you get a massage or some teeth whitening. It’s all about the advertising, baby!) Among other things, it’s served as a reminder that writing actually involves, well, work, and not just sitting at a computer tappity-tapping things about and periodically checking Facebook or a funny blog or something.
Here are some things that I’ve been re-reminded about writing, especially when the writing is for an assignment (work, school, or otherwise):
1. You typically have to read something first. The advent of blogging, and my fondness for the personal essay has kind of made me forget this one. Unless you are a super-duper expert at something, like, say, regression analysis, painting, or running during pregnancy (and that second one is really just a plug for my sister), you probably need to read something first. You probably need to read somebody’s website, books, articles, marketing material, etc. You might have to go to some old school, dusty library someplace and figure out how to use microfiche. (Umm…are these done away with now? Have I totally dated myself? Should I throw in cave reading and hieroglyphics?)
2. You might have to talk to someone first. Maybe in person. Maybe over the phone. You should probably do your homework first on this one (again, read a website or so.) You might have to craft some interviewing questions. This is all fine and dandy, and a certain amount of work. But as with everything in life…
3. You’ll probably not get through to this person when you want. Yeah, we all have our phones imbedded into our brains now (Wait? We don’t yet? Phew! That seems freaky), but that doesn’t mean you won’t go to voicemail or play phone-tag or feel like a stalker for a while. And this is fine, as long as the number you called isn’t 9-1-1. But it does mess with one’s sense of time-being-spent.
4. Even when you’re ready to write, you might end up with some writer’s block. Enough said.
5. Or writer’s “crappy flow”. You’re actually writing stuff, but boy, is that little critic in your head saying “This sounds like crap!”
6. You probably have to write to someone’s specs or needs. This one might take a while to figure out; hence things like rewrites (as if that critic in your head wasn’t enough!), or re-researching (hope not), or just a learning curve.
By the way, yes, this is just my second post on this blog/website combo. And so, yes, I’m feeling that this-is-new-and-feels-funny thing. But please feel free to comment, or look around. I’ll even take criticism at this point, although please be nice and constructive about it. I know I still have work to do!