I don’t really know why I write. I don’t write quickly,
except when I’m really pissed off or on a rant.
I’m a lousy typist. In college I was wedded to erasable
typing paper, and later to the correcting tape in the IBM Selectric. I would
take illegible notes; later I learned to transcribe quickly after interviews
while I could still understand them. I still take illegible notes.
I’m a compulsive editor. Computers, with their ability to
instantly correct any mistake, amaze me to this day. Control Z and the delete
key are my best friends.
|My trusty iMac|
I’m fragmented. I move from one project to another
constantly shifting gears. I was in the middle of reading an article about
women’s writing and the idea for this article popped into my mind. Never mind
that I have a couple of paying gigs in the hopper. Easily distracted: “That
article on Yahoo looks interesting!” Or go off on a tangent researching an odd
bit of information. Having lived pre-Internet, that ability still fascinates and
I procrastinate. I write to a deadline. It’s the only way
I’ll finish anything. I start and stop articles. I over-commit, then lie awake
at night trying to figure out how to balance it all. And I feel guilty when I
book off a night and watch television. Or play a game of Forty Thieves.
I live in fear that a typo will totally sink my career, so I
scrutinize articles that I’ve published on WordPress or Blogger because I know
they can be fixed… this in spite of the fact that I go nuts when I find typos
in pieces published by other writers.
Despite the positive feedback and awards that I’ve received
for my writing, I believe that one day, the gods will point at me and call me a
I feel like I need to prove myself with each article I
submit. I’m compelled to save everything that’s been published, like some
hiring honcho will demand proof positive that I can write, even unto my first
by-lined article – a theater review – written for my first real newspaper job
I know my writing foibles and they make me crazy: typing a
wrong, but similar word, forgetting the “s” or “ed” at the end of a word,
dropping words altogether.
I’m not sure if the fact that I’ve been an editor for a good
part of my career has made me a better or worse writer. Until recently, I
thought “better,” but I’m beginning to think it slows me down. I see the volume
produced by other writers and think that I should be producing more. I berate
myself for not posting often enough on my two blogs – natch, Feb. 2 here.
So why do I write? As Dorothy Parker said, “I hate writing,
but I love having written.” I derive a certain satisfaction from looking at an
article and thinking, “not bad.” And forgetting the self-doubt and
procrastination that went into producing it.
Labels: editing, rants, writing