Earlier today I updated the archives, so if you missed anything look for it there.
A little bird whispered in my ear today. He told me some new voices might show up around these pages pretty soon. Hmmm. Wonder who’s dropping by? Remember to check back often and see.
Preparation on the next issue of Bread ‘n Molasses shifted into high-gear last week. I’ve been so preoccupied with editing submissions and writing my articles that you might think I’ve been ignoring the blog. This is not so. I’ve been doing some research to see about adding some cool new features. I may have news on that soon.
But as I said, Bread ‘n Molasses production has kicked into overdrive. I’ve been concentrating mostly on the articles I can write on my own without interviewing people, like the Editor’s Note, the Write On! writing tip and general information stories that require research but not interviews.
I usually start these types of articles first because I play around with them a lot more than the ones that come from interviews. When you interview someone about their art or their business or whatever, there’s really not much you can do with it — just relay what they’ve told you to the best of your ability.
Most of the article will be direct quotes from the people you’ve interviewed or paraphrasing of what they’ve said. They are more like puzzles than writing; you look for the best way to string their words together so the story flows. It’s not much of a writing challenge though because really you’re just looking for a few good sentences to connect one quote to the next one.
This is not to say those stories aren’t difficult to write. They can be really difficult, especially when the interview doesn’t go well. There’s a lot of preparation involved too.
First, you have to get the interview often involving days of telephone tag and unanswered email.
Then, you need to be prepared with good questions so the people tell you a lot of interesting stuff rather than just say ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
When you finally connect you’ve got to listen really well so you don’t miss something important, be ready to follow the conversation through twists and turns into areas you know nothing about, and then construct a story from the pages of hen scratch that make up your notes.
It’s not easy. It’s certainly not glamorous. But for people like me, it’s sort of exciting sometimes.
But as difficult as that may or may not sound, the bigger challenge for me comes from the articles that don’t involve any interviews. The simple reason for this is because there are no quotes — every word in every sentence is up to me.
And I agonise over them!
I write. I edit. I write more. I edit. I write some more. Then I delete those three sentences and start at the beginning, repeating the process until one day I have a couple hundred words that I think are okay to show the rest of the world.
It’s common for my Editor’s Note or other articles I’m working on to kick around my desk for a good three or four months before I publish them. I like to believe this makes a difference in the end, that they get better after every rewrite, but I don’t know if it really makes that much of a difference.
But it’s not uncommon for writers to work like that. It’s probably more normal than not because we tend to view our writing like offspring. Everything I write, whether it’s my Editor’s Note for Bread ‘n Molasses or an entry in this blog, every paragraph I write is almost like a child of mine. It‘s hard to give up control, release it into the world to stand on its own and accept that I won’t be able to help it anymore.
Anyway, that’s a little insight into how the articles and essays I write for Bread ‘n Molasses come into existence. Regardless of how tortuous I might make the writing process sound, it’s the only thing I really want to do with my life. That’s always been the only thing I know for sure.
What do you know for sure?
Giv’er Miramichi is about “What’s up, what’s new, what’s happening”. We are focused on building people up, supporting one another and celebrating our successes.