In a college business writing course many moons ago, I was given an assignment that I just couldn’t stomach. I was to write a public relations blurb for a fast food joint. In addition to having objections to the restaurant’s cuisine, I was also pretty busy with a number of other more enjoyable assignments. In short, I was not looking forward to sitting at a blank page and coming up with what I thought was complete rubbish.
So just for fun, that is exactly what I wrote – rubbish. I described the food as greasy and disgusting, the service as less than mediocre because the workers were treated like the unskilled, uneducated serfs they were, and so forth and so on.
After just a few minutes, the page was filled with information and I had a good time doing it. Naturally, I couldn’t hand the assignment in in that form; I needed a positive portrayal of the company, not a slander sheet. But all I had to do to get that portrayal was to turn each point on its head. Instead of unskilled, uneducated grunts, the employees were “learning new skills”! Even spinning my negative observations into positive ones gave me a kick. All in all, what was at first a cringe-making chore became a half hour of fun.
While much is said about considering your audience when writing, the first audience member you have to worry about is yourself. If your not enjoying what you’re writing, your other audience members aren’t libel too either.
The fact the matter is, for me at least, nothing sounds good when it first hits the page. Depending on the material, I need to rewrite at least once before something is worthy of presentation to others. Sometimes I’d like to think I’m a fair writer, but a great editor.
And as much as I love writing, a blank page is still pretty scary at times and I’d rather go to the movies, do my laundry, visit the dentist, anything rather than take a chance on writing poorly. It’s during these times I remember my motto: First get it writ’, then get it right. Knowing it’s not going to sound right the first time anyway, I just put the stuff on the page. And if I have a good time while doing it, why not?