Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Other Writing

We talk a lot about fiction on this blog, obviously, since that is our bread and butter. However, since I just spent all last evening and this morning with my editor hat on (I am a freelance features editor for a technical trade magazine), within the space of hours I had to shift between writing: "A little lower. . .harder. . ." the sexy voice commanded, and Rafe felt a stirring between his legs that he had no business feeling."

To editing:
"The first step is to itemize all of the critical applications in your organization and obtain a physical and logical architecture diagram, including the supporting systems."

It might seem that the contrast, not to mention the shift in role from writer to editor, might be too drastic for my brain cells to handle, but I love it, and realized yesterday that even if I sold big in the fiction market (we can dream, right?) that I would not want to give up editing. It presents an entirely different set of challenges and I value that.

While the two roles are drastically different, one provides not only relief from the other, but products that are completely different and equally rewarding. When I talk to a writer with my editor hat on, I relate to writing in a different way and I get an inside view on editing that helps me in my fiction writing. As a writer, I can relate to text -- and writers -- in ways that I hope make me a more effective and sensitive editor (and this all makes me appreciate my own editor, and editors at large, even more).

In addition, there are blogs, email, IMs, and the other myriad writtten communications and forms that weave throughout the day, all addressing different topics and issues, and while this makes it hard to stay focused sometimes, in the end I find they all influence my writing style in some way, making me sharper, more aware, and more flexible than if I spent all of my time doing one kind of writing.

I think this is why writers often need to branch out to other genres and forms, to keep their writing muscles nimble. However, I wondered if that was true for everyone, of if this is just a result of my need for something new to do every 30 minutes (you can make short attention spans work in your favor, see?).

What other writing hats do you wear -- do you work jobs that require different kinds of writing or thinking about writing? Do they feed into your fiction or are they a distraction (or a source of information and energy)? Do you write in mutliple genres, or for different outlets?

I was just wondering. . . ;)


(for some reason this is showing up wonky in the preview, but I'm just going to go ahead and publish and hope for the best... apologies ahead of time if the fonts are strange...)


Nancy Morse said...

Some years ago when I was doing freelance articles for Health Magazine's Metro section, I was asked to edit the articles of others for that section. It gave me an opportunity to see the process from the editorial side. It was interesting, although I can't say it was all that much of a learning experience. Anyway, I quit freelancing because there wasn't any real money in it. Too much work for too little return. And the magazine did away with the Metro section, so there wasn't anything to edit. Right now, I'm in the process of copyrighting artwork for a book on my father-in-law who was a cartoonist/artist from the 20's to the 60's.

Christie Craig said...


I also write non-fiction. And I really believe we use different sides of our brains. I really enjoy using the fiction side best. And recently, I've found that in addition to those two hats, I also now need to wear the PR hat. Ahh, but I'm not complaining. I love what I do.