Saturday, April 11, 2015

Seven interesting things about my writing and editing

© 2015 Christy K Robinson

I was tagged by an author colleague to post seven interesting things about my writing life.

1. I learned long ago that the things I find fascinating are not wildly popular with others. But if I’m a clever-enough writer, I hope to introduce them to my mania and garner new converts, I mean readers.

2. One of the traits I have as a Meyers-Briggs INFJ personality is that I often operate on an intuitive basis. From wide reading of history, comparing history with current events, and observation of timeless human behavior, I see connections between seemingly unrelated factoids that most other people don’t. From there, I research the connections for proof, and when I find it, it goes into my writing. I think that’s what gives me my signature “voice.”

3. Another cool thing about INFJs. I quote from a website: “INFJs may be attracted to writing as a profession, and often they use language which contains an unusual degree of imagery. They are masters of the metaphor, and both their verbal and written communications tend to be elegant and complex. Their great talent for language usually is directed toward people, describing people and writing to communicate with people in a personalized way. INFJs who write comment often that they write with a particular person in mind; writing to a faceless, abstract audience leaves them uninspired.” NAILED IT.

4. I enjoy taking technical, historical, or academic information, and making it come alive in easily-understandable prose. Whether it’s a scientific paper written by a dental professor, a thesis written by a grad student, an article by a person who really *can’t write for beans*, or a handwritten letter from 360 years ago, I can “translate” it into a piece anyone can understand. I will red-line the words “utilize,” “impactful,” “snuck,” and most business-speak clichés like “reaching out to” and “deliverables.” The bonus is that I get to research whatever I don’t understand, and file it away in my cranium for another project, another day. I love feeling those mental gears spinning up there. (Is that too low-tech?)

5. I’d much rather edit than write. I discovered this back in university. That above-mentioned talent makes my copy-editing stand out from other editors. I know what’s missing from a piece, and how to repair it. In philanthropic marketing terms, I can make an “ask” that seems reasonable to the reader. And I can visualize the finished product (book, magazine, website) as the market will see it, which is a valuable tool to use before it’s set in print for all eternity.

6. You may know that proofreaders and editors do not have the same job. Proofreaders check for spelling and grammatical errors according to a style manual, check headlines and captions, and for widows and orphans in the proofs. A copy editor does that, but looks at the content of a piece, evaluates it, and changes it to meet the objectives of the book or magazine (print or online). I’ve also been a managing editor, which involves managing the piece from concept to publication, on a timeline. When I manage a periodical, there are multiple deadlines and participants to keep ahead of, and I forget the current date because I’m operating at least four months into the future, and also on an annual basis. All of the above are in the back of my mind when I’m writing articles or books.

7. I’m a pianist and organist, and this comes through in my writing. No, I don’t write musicological commentary. (Ain’t no one got time for that.) But I use many elements of music—phrasing, legato and staccato, dynamics, rhythm, contrast, rubato (variable tempo), and expression—in my writing and editing. 

Do you have a book, thesis, website, or periodical (magazine, newsletter, email blast) that could benefit from proven experience, knowledge, and creativity? Contact Christy Robinson HERE.

1 comment:

  1. I'm right there with you on everything but "snuck." And playing the organ.
    Thanks for sharing. It's heartening to know that my own foibles and obsessions aren't so unique.