I think writing is one of the only professions where competitors - for want of a better word (ironically) - actively praise and promote one another. I would like to take full credit for this revelation but I'm pretty sure I read it somewhere recently. Maybe it was on Seth's blog? Not sure. Ironically (again), in the same paragraph as I pontificate about how great writers are I am ripping off someone's idea and not attributing credit. Which is nice.
But you see it all the time; writers loving on other writers. The Sun Herald has a double page spread every week dedicated to authors sharing the BEST BOOKS EVA!!! that weren't written by them. Journalists can't stop themselves from quoting and heaping praise on other hacks and bloggers are always listing and linking to blogs that they themselves j'adore.
When you are paid to thump out copy onto a screen, you're constantly given other people's paragraphs to edit, to work with, or - as one of my clients was oft fond of directing me - to 'fluff and finesse'. And much of the time you are editing you can't help but think of the text before you, "this is shit" before weaving your own brand of word nerd magic over it.
Please don't take this as a sign of mal-informed egomania dear reader. Not at all. No one notices just how lacking a piece of writing is, more than the person who spewed it out. No page is ever perfect or ever will be, and the balancing act of the writing profession entails getting it good enough to be enjoyed and effective and for you to get paid but not to spend so much time going over it again and again and again and again that the value of your time decreases.
Furthermore, there is nothing more bittersweet for a writer than reading someone else's masterfully crafted script and thinking, "Damn! I wish I wrote that."
And in that spirit, let me share with you 5 items I wish I'd penned:
- Man and Boy by Tony Parsons
- Notes from the Chairman by Bono for the New York Times
- This ad
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- This song:
If you like this you're probably best advised to click on this little beauty from the archives:
With all due respect, Stephen King was dead wrong