Wick Communications

#TBT your own writing

In Writing techniques on 21 Aug 2014 at 2:45 pm
#TBT Your humble editorial director, right, rocks the Gibson L-6S roughly 35 years ago in somebody's basement.

#TBT Your humble editorial director, right, rocks the Gibson L-6S roughly 35 years ago in somebody’s basement.

Are you familiar with the #TBT meme on social media? It’s shorthand for “Throwback Thursday” and it’s an opportunity to post old pictures of yourself and your friends in an attempt to make you look good and them look bad. At the Half Moon Bay Review, we use the #TBT hashtag as an excuse to post photos from our archives on Instagram. People seem to like it and I think it points out our longevity as a brand.

Well, Poynter writing coach Roy Peter Clark had the good idea of bringing the concept to your own writing. (Stop right there. If you don’t follow Clark’s thoughts online you are really missing out. He’s super. OK, go on.) He suggests going back and rereading a piece of your old writing and looking at it with fresh eyes. What works? What makes you cringe? Do you see evidence of you in your work? If you didn’t know it was yours, could you spot it as your work?

I’m finding that, for the most part, my voice has been intact for as far back as I care to look.

July 19, 1993

Gainesville Times

By Clay Lambert

New Atlanta Braves first baseman Fred McGriff goes by the nickname “Crime Dog,” but on Monday, as flames billowed from the press box at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, the team would have gladly traded him for a single firefighter’s Dalmatian. …


Dec. 10, 2001

The Palm Beach Post

By Clay Lambert

George Charles Lawrence III was fighting with his girlfriend in the middle of Gateway Boulevard when Lionel Augustus Willis got in the way – and it’s a long way around the 6-foot-4, 360-pound former wrestling champ.


June 10, 2009

The Half Moon Bay Review

By Clay Lambert

James Scott sat soldier-straight in an orange prison jumpsuit the morning of May 31. He folded shackled hands in his lap and fixed his eyes on a point on the paneled wall, between the American and California flags, somewhere beyond San Quentin’s walls.


I notice that in the vast majority of my feature stories and even many of my straight news things, I like to start with a guy. Or a gal. I have always found people interesting. That hasn’t changed. Honestly, I’m liable to lay it on even thicker today because I don’t have an editor or seven to rein it in. In that way, I may have been a more polished writer 15 years ago. I’ve always liked kickers. I’ve always been better at spinning yarn than crunching numbers.

Go ahead, you try it. #TBT. You might even use that hashtag and link to some story from your paper’s past.




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