Personally, I never thought I had a preferred “writing environment” before I started writing professionally. During school, I’d almost always written at a desk in my dorm room, maybe with some music on. When I would write for personal fulfillment after graduation, same thing, except in my apartment.
I didn’t realize at the time that, though I may have chosen these environments out of convenience, they fit my writing personality. They were comfortable, generally quiet, and I could shield myself from outside interruptions. That all changed when I got my first “real” writing job and was given the little kid desk at the back of the office, against the wall.
It was - no joke - a piece of wood supported by two file cabinets.
I learned then that a professional writer doesn’t often have the luxury of choosing their work environment.
I’m seething right now.
We just got comments back from our client about a brochure we’d been working on. Actually a brochure that we’d been busting our butts on. We hadn’t had a lot of time to come up with something great, but we rallied around each other and made sure that we provided them with everything they’d asked be included - while delivering something we were very proud of.
A member of the client’s team had come in at the last minute with comments. That’s not so odd or unforgivable. It was the type of comments her gave us that were so unforgivable. It was just bad feedback.
That’s why I’m seething.
Elmore Leonard was a famous novelist and one of the unique writing voices of the last 50 years in America. He rose from pulp magazines to best seller lists, and one aspect of his that was often cited for this was his authentic voice.
My favorite quote on writing from him is this: “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.”
That should be your mantra as you write anything: web copy for your startup, a script for a TV spot, an article, your memoir.
For many years, I was a copywriter in ad agencies that specialized in pharmaceutical advertising, writing copy about prescription medicines. Outside of any feelings anyone may have about that industry, it was a great challenge for any writer to wed hardcore medical science with the soft fuzziness of marketing.
One aspect of this industry that can be hard is that every piece of marketing that goes out to consumers is heavily scrutinized by a cadre of internal experts. This is done to make sure that all the information that they put out about any medication is completely accurate and balanced, making sure that any possible side effects are clearly indicated.
So my copy was always heavily edited.