Wednesday, December 20, 2006

"I am a Tortured Writer."

This, above, is a handwritten note I've put up in my office, to remind myself of my limitations.

I am a slow writer, one who pores over sentences again and again, continually parsing words and switching everything around until the deadline is long past due. I recently mentioned this to a friend who works at a newswire -- where you have less than an hour to turn around breaking news -- that I could never do what she does. And I have no idea how the kids at Gawker Media crank out 12 posts a day. I'd rather work at a monthly. Or something quarterly. Something long-lead.

It's not the pressure, but I have a constant urge to fiddle with the written word. And you should see what happens -- or, more accurately what doesn't happen -- when writer's block hits. For those interested in more about this area, he sure to pick up the fascinating "The Midnight Disease: The Drive to Write, Writer's Block, and the Creative Brain", by Alice Weaver Flaherty.


I was reminded of this again while reading the forthcoming book "Made to Stick", by Chip and Dan Heath (review TK). Early on, they quote Ed Cray, an erstwhile journalist who is now a communications professor at USC. There, he relates that "[t]he longer you work on a story, the more you find yourself losing direction. No detail is too small. You just don't know what your story is anymore."

Too true-- it's something I need to work on, and part of why I started this blog, to help with the writing process. I've spent far too long writing and rewriting this post already.

1 comment:

Kevin A. said...

I do that too which is why I made a pact with myself to only pot first drafts on my blog. This way I can gauge how my writing progresses.

Also debating taking a news writing class at community college to brush up on my skillz, yo.

Look forward to seeing you!