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Thursday, September 08, 2011

Writing Is Writing?

Writing is writing, right?

Actually, no.

Different types of writing demand different skills. I can't write a short business letter to save my life--make that I can't write any type of business letter. It's excruciatingly painful for me and I usually come across as terse or stilted. Among the challenges for me (and there are many) is length. One sentence doesn't look too good. There should be more. I end up with a few sentences, but that still looks sad on a 8.5 x 11 piece of paper. I put in more spaces between the addresses. I add spaces at the end.

It doesn't help.

I can spend four hours writing a business note and end up with two sentences after I cut everything I think is too stupid or sounds too rigid.

I'm running into this trying to write a 50 word blurb about Enemy Embrace. Once upon a time, when I was an advertising major in college, I could bang out something like this in no time. It really is a kind of advertising copy. The thing is that I haven't used that type of writing much since I got out of college. My publishers provide the back cover copy for the books and I'm happy to let them.

After thinking about the copy for days, spending hours trying to write something, I have the grand total of 0 words.

This is where you expect me to say I have new appreciation for the art of writing back cover copy, but I'm not going to. I've always appreciated the skill it takes. I'm merely reminded of how much blood, sweat and tears it involves.

Back to the drawing board.