It’s probably obvious, but other than sporadically keeping a journal and regularly crafting emails in the service of gainful employment, I haven’t done much writing.
In a former life, what I refer to as PC (precancer), I was an editor, helping authors to put their best foot forward (best pen forward?) and shine. I often reassured skeptical and nervous authors new to the editing process by telling them that my job was to make them look good. I wasn’t just blowing smoke–it’s true. Editors who lose sight of this and let the power of the red pen go to their heads should step back. Sure, it can be an ego trip. Oooh, look how smart I am, fixing someone else’s comma splices! But most editors I know got into the business because of their love of language and the written word. Or, you know, kind of stumbled into it, like so many people do when it comes to their careers.
Now that I’m on the other side, so to speak, and am the one doing the writing, I can appreciate some of my authors’ trepidation all the more. Writing is hard. It takes time, especially when you’re talking about books that are hundreds of pages long. A writer will spend countless hours crafting something, and then some ninny on a power trip is going to carve it all up? That’s your creation. Your baby. Blood, sweat, and tears. (Sometimes literally. In the pre-computer age, paper cuts could be brutal.)
But even more than the time and effort, what’s on that page represents your soul. It’s an intimate piece of you, exposed for all the world to see. Writing is really just translating your heart into words.