Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Full On Edit

I think the reason I've been struggling to write blog entries -- or anything else -- this last week or so is that I'm in full-on edit mode at work. I'm working a proposal, which for me means that I'm pulling together write-ups of old projects and rearranging them to highlight their similarities to the job we're trying to get, and I'm getting the resumes we're submitting and doing the same thing, and I'm getting all this stuff buffed and polished with regards to formatting, and then I'm reading through the main parts of the proposal (which have been written, mostly, by writers ranging from horrible to adequate) and fixing typos and grammar and spelling and rewording things that are awkward and generally... editing.

Mind you, I'm good at this. The grammar and spelling and formatting can be done by any half-competent high school graduate (though having interviewed for our last three tech writer openings, those aren't as numerous as you might believe) but the rewriting and smoothing and rearranging and highlighting? That's my shining star, and I'm glad my office's managers understand that and let me do what I do.

But it's very much a left-brain effort -- manipulative rather than creative -- and I'm not very good at switching gears. So when it's time to do something creative, like writing from scratch... I'm floundering a lot. I've got stories that I want to write that just refuse to come out. I load up this blog every morning and can't come up with even a single anecdote.

As an aside:  I've seen several comic characters who use writing to access their powers -- Promethea springs to mind, as do Kevin Thorn and the Literals from Fables, and (arguably) any number of Sandman threads. But I'd love to see a comic duo of the Writer and the Editor, neither of whom can properly function on their own: the Writer generates the power, but needs the Editor to shape and direct it. The Writer's icon would be a quill, and the Editor's would be a red pen. There: since I don't write comics, an idea free for the taking to anyone who does.

Yeah, I amuse myself.

On the plus side, editing mode is perfect for scrapbooking. You might think scrapbooking would be a creative effort, and it can be, but largely, it's rearranging and highlighting and smoothing and editing: what's the best way to crop these pictures, and the best way to arrange them on the page? I can get creative with paper shapes and decorations when I'm in the mood to do that, but when I'm not, a simple strip or two on the side or top of the page suffices to accent the pictures without making me dig for true creativity.

So last night, when Matt was out and by all rights I should have been taking advantage of the quiet to write, I scrapbooked instead. I managed to finish up last year's scrapbook, finally. Now I need to think about this year's -- specifically, whether my falling so far behind on last year's is indicative that I'm trying too much and need to do something of less impressive scale (e.g., a single 2-page spread for each month, leaving most of my pictures for flickr) or if I just need to buckle down and commit more time to my scrapbooking projects. I don't know; I'm still thinking about it.

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