Host Garrison Keillor answers your questions about life, love, writing, authors, and of course, A Prairie Home Companion.
Send GK Your Question »
Content and its Discontents
September 8, 2009 |
Hi Mr. Keillor,
I work as a content editor for websites. That is similar to editing manuscripts but your eyesight goes south a bit faster. I love to write but I am so busy, that I cannot find the time.
What time of day do you find is the best to get your writing done?
I sure wish we could get rid of that word "content" to refer to writing, photography, drawing, and design online, Bracha. The very word breathes indifference why would one bother about the quality of work when it's referred to as "content"? I'm sorry to respond to your good question with a cranky diatribe, but this word has crept from New Media over to Radio Broadcasting where I live in my little cave and now my Show has become Content and is sent around to stations in a nice digital package that squashes the sound. Public radio, which holds itself up as a believer in quality, is cutting corners on all sides and I see this perfidious word "content" as part of the downward slide. I loathe the word. It's like referring to Omaha as a development.
Okay, enough of that.
You're working hard at editing and if you want to do some writing, you probably have to do that before you go to your other job. Simple as that. You don't need to be fresh and lively to edit websites your intuition and acquired skills will carry you through but you have to come to writing with a big head of steam, and I suggest you do that for at least an hour, preferably two, before you go to your job. If you work 9 to 5, that means setting the alarm for 5 a.m. so you can shower and dress and have some coffee and take a nice brisk walk for 20 minutes and then settle yourself down in a quiet place and have two luxurious hours of stillness in which to put something on the computer. Then make a hard copy and stick it in your back pocket to mark up during any odd free moments during the day. If you're out of the habit of writing, you may need to do some exercises give yourself some assignments write about your parents, describe your best friends, write the story of your worst low point in life, etc. Just to get your brain working. In the evening, I'm afraid, your brain will be tired of words, so the morning is your best bet, and you'll have to give up some of your evening pleasures so you can get enough sleep. But it's worth trying this for a year or so to see what comes from it. And I wish you well.