Occasional Kicker contributor Ed Henninger got on my bad side recently with a column he wrote that was published on his website and in the Local Media Association monthly. Here’s the heresy, which begins with a premise he holds to be false:
“We’re in the business of writing.” No we’re not. We are in the business of bringing meaning to readers’ lives.
See how easy it is to ruin my day?
OK, Ed’s right. Completely. It’s just that I and most of the people I know in newsrooms consider ourselves to be writers. We got into the business – whether in 1975 or 2015 – because we like to write, work hard at writing and believe our writing is an important way we bring meaning to readers lives. Let’s just say effective writing and bringing meaning are not mutually exclusive.
Take that, design boy! …
Want to feel good about the process of writing? Want to consider other approaches? Need some inspiration from writers of every ilk? Well, have you got a pair of ear buds?
College lecturer and novelist Hilton Obenzinger has collected more than 50 conversations with writers in many disciplines for a podcast called, “How I Write.” What he finds is that we are idiosyncratic creatures, we writers. Some prefer longhand. Some write laying down. Some write in the morning, others at night. But we tend to be kind of ritualistic and the vast majority of us know it’s hard work that requires discipline.
For my part, I’m frankly afraid of creating too much ritual around my writing. I’ve written stories while seated on airplanes, standing at a pay phone and even hunched down on the floor of a police station. I can’t afford to convince myself I can only write while laying in bed with my favorite quill in hand. You know what I mean?
I find the twin acts of reading and writing inseparable, and I also find reading – and hearing — about writing to be rejuvenating. Do you need some inspiration? Dive into this stuff.