Sometimes it's the work you don't see
Of all the things I wish people understood about being a writer, this essay beautifully sums up what would be my main point. For every 1,500 word blog post or 5,000 word whitepaper, it’s the work the reader doesn’t see that leads to that polished gem of wordsmithery.
I’m currently working on condensing a 10-page whitepaper into a one-page checklist. For every ~200 words, I need to write ~20. The act of writing those words will ultimately take me somewhere between 2-3 hours. It’s the 10+ hours of reading, digesting, and condensing that nobody but me and my editor/manager see that make it work.
Without those hours and that effort, what I would produce would be a hot mess. Oh, it would meet the criteria given to me, a one-page checklist that summarizes the whitepaper. But it would be unreadable and certainly NOT something I would ask our sales team to direct prospects to.
What I need to do now is take this knowledge, understanding, and insight and put it to work on my currently un-paid work. If I’m serious about launching a career as a writer who doesn’t also have a day job as, well, a writer — I need to get my shit far enough together that I can at least see all the piles from my vantage point.
(Along the same lines, I’ve been working on something centering around the simple fact that none of us will likely ever truly have our shit together, and why that’s preferable. Stay tuned for more on that…soon -ish.)