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Podcast Transcript: Hi, genuine writers! This is Innovative Editing’s Jeannette DiLouie officially welcoming you to episode #9 of The Genuine Writer Podcast. We keep things short, sweet and to the point here so that you can learn what you need to learn and get back to writing already.
Today’s episode is sponsored by The Genuine Writer, Innovative Editing’s free e-letter that gives you the encouragement and insights you need to get your writing to where it needs to be. Sign up for it at www.InnovativeEditing.com/the-genuine-writer or just go to www.InnovativeEditing.com and scroll down to the sign-up box. When you do sign up, you’ll instantly get the six-page starter’s guide “Writing Tips 101” to get you properly placed to make things happen in your book-writing world.
That’s The Genuine Writer e-letter, and this podcast is The Genuine Writer Podcast, so clearly Innovative Editing is all about genuine writers. But this begs a really good question: What is a genuine writer? It’s a question a lot of people answer wrong, so let’s discuss it right now.
A genuine writer isn’t even close to being perfect, as we’ll discuss in further detail in a moment. It’s simply someone who loves to write, whether fiction or nonfiction, autobiography or otherwise, creative or business. When you’re a genuine writer, you have fun with your writing tasks. Reveling in the challenge of composing copy, designing a nonfiction manuscript or creating a story, you enjoy the process for all its worth… 95% of the time.
Admittedly, even the most fulfilling jobs and hobbies get frustrating. But you know that it’s worth it to power on through, understanding that there will be days you own the writing experience… and a few times here and there when you want to flush your copy down the drain. Yet even during those down days, the genuine writer doesn’t give up. Not for long anyway. Maybe you give yourself a break and possibly a whole week’s vacation to allow your brain to rest and recuperate; but then you’re back in the game all over again, putting words down on paper with the set goal of expressing yourself as professionally and purposely as possible.
Perhaps that’s because, as a genuine writer, you don’t take yourself too seriously. You understand that you have strengths you can highlight and weaknesses you can improve, yet neither define your worth. They’re a product of who you are at this moment; they’re not your everything. As such, you can take criticism in stride and accept responsibility for mistakes.
95% of the time.
Again, you – no, we – all have our bad days and not-so-mature moments. It’s just that we don’t hold those slip-ups against ourselves for all eternity, recognizing that we’re human and we’re not perfect. For that matter, we don’t even dream about perfection when we’re genuine writers. Instead, we seek to one-up our own selves in a friendly, positive competition so that our next drafts are more clear, more engaging and more convincing than the last one. We’re always questioning and always learning in our quest to be the best writers we can be.
That’s why we seek outside feedback about our to-be-published writing: so that we can gain new perspectives and grow from them. This doesn’t mean we accept it all, only that we ask for second opinions from a reasonable range of sources. We consider them for what they’re worth, and we apply what seems accurate, reasonable and right.
To best do that, we study. For fiction writers, that means keeping up-to-date on the creative craft by reading other writers’ opinions about it… or by reading other writers’ styles. So yes, we have full permission to buy more books. For nonfiction writers, that means reading up about the subject matter we claim to be experts on. We’re not ideology-driven but always try to seek out the truth and modify our opinions when that truth contradicts our original beliefs.
We strive for accuracy, not agenda, recognizing how there is a place for opinion in our writing but that our opinions aren’t the end-all and be-all. There’s no way to completely remove opinion from a piece, but there are definitely methods of promoting true dialogue instead of dogma. We’re not going to go into all of them here in this particular podcast episode because it would take too long, but these methods exist nonetheless.
In many ways, it all starts with genuinely respecting our potential and actual readers. As genuine writers, we don’t treat them like idiots or pawns to force ideas on but as the intelligent creatures that they are. Nor do we write in a way to elevate ourselves over them through our vocabulary choices, our sentence structure, or the facts and figures we choose to employ. We craft each sentence, paragraph, page and/or chapter with the reader in mind instead of just the writer.
Though we still take the writer into consideration all the same, recognizing that we belong in the equation the same as they do. Just like we treat them with respect, we give ourselves our due. Knowing full well that we can’t please everyone – that making every single person out there happy is an impossible goal – we only strive to present ideas clearly, articulately and respectfully to reach as many readers as reasonably possible.
We provide information, then let them decide what to do with it from there.
We always strive to be relevant for our own long-term sakes as well as theirs, offering somethingvaluable to make people smile, make them think or make them grow. Maybe even all three. But, again, we write for ourselves just as much as for others, so we don’t let ourselves get pushed into publishing copy we’re not comfortable with. Not by friends. Not by family. Not by businesses or society. No matter how well-meaning or demanding those sources might be. In the end, we stand by our convictions.
In all of this, the genuine writer doesn’t worry too much about being original, understanding that originality is not always a plus and barely even possible anyway. So we focus on being natural instead, letting our personalities and writing-style preferences show according to the particulars of the presentation we’re going for. We get creative, breaking rules and raising standards when called for, starting sentences with conjunctions, ending with prepositions, making paragraphs out of single lines or whatever else is good for the copy, good for the reader and good for the writer.
After we’re done writing and we move on to editing, we never just look for spelling and grammar mistakes. We check for whether sentences flow well, checking to see how strong and cohesive our plot or logical points are, and making sure that we’re engaging the reader as much as possible. That’s why we’re always ready to learn something new about words: not just their obvious, immediate meanings but also their implications. Do they have any undesirable connotations that a reasonable person might infer? Genuine writers do their best to make sure the answer to that is no.
We make time for our craft, setting aside schedule space every day or every week to write, knowing that there are greater things in life than staying up-to-date on social media. That’s why we seek out environments that work in order to do our work. We strive to recognize what around us is a distraction and what around us aids our abilities, whether that’s music, noise or silence; a study, a comfy couch or a café.
In the end, a genuine writer is simply a writer, for all the good and bad, stereotypical and individualized, pain and profit. We strive to use our writing gifts and skills to the best of our abilities and put them to the best of uses. Because that is just how we operate.
How else should we?
Thanks for tuning in to The Genuine Writer Podcast. It was awesome to have you here, and very happy writing!