How should you edit? How do you come by an agent? How do you deal with bruising feedback? All of these questions and more are answered in this popular podcast
Coming across Hattie Crisell’s podcast is one of the greatest things to happen to me during lockdown. I want to share In Writing because it gives insights into the creative industry which often feels like a converted piece of fiction on its own. Writing is an inevitable part of student life, no matter your discipline, and listening to the experiences of writing is one of those rare things that you can do whilst you think about writing.
Crisell, a journalist who has written for The Times, is on her own journey of postgraduate study. In her podcast, she interviews a variety of people from the creative industry such as BAFTA award-winning screenwriters, former Vogue editors, YA writers, feature writers, novelists, and poets. By routing each acclaimed creatives’ writing process, Crisell excavates (thank you thesaurus, that feelings fitting) another story from them, a largely unpublished one; one that feels like it belongs to a fantasy genre in itself sometimes, the story of the writers’ journey.
I am sure I am not alone when I say that I may spend more time thinking about writing than actually getting writing done. (Did I mention writing too much? It’s okay … I will get that out in the edit.)
Editing and reworking a text is a story in itself: have we edited the writing journey to the point it seemingly doesn’t exist, and what message does that leave young writers? I learned that writing is a process of re-writing, re-writing again and editing, in fact, a great deal of editing. Poetry, prose and articles have arguably been doing what we accuse social media of doing, hiding the journey to a finished product. Like a perfectly presented Instagram dinner, there will almost certainly have been some alterations in perspective, perhaps several edits and highlighting to create the finished product and this is all hidden. It is important we share that journey, and that writing journey is exactly what this podcast uncovers.
One hard truth that the podcast discusses is that endless self-loathing does not ever disappear, even after you have been published. (I will always be able to hear this voice in my head.) It doesn’t matter at what stage you are in your writing career, writing can sometimes feel like lifting a house and these writers confirmed to me I was not alone. In Writing interviews one of today’s most notorious and ingenious writers, Charlie Brooker (Black Mirror), and even he cannot escape self-scrutiny.
It’s fine to write something that you’re not satisfied with it. It’s brilliant to edit and it’s great to practice. It’s okay that one essay might feel like a piece of cake and the next one feels like drawing blood, there is a process to reaching the final piece. It is a huge comfort to know that you are not alone In Writing, despite being essentially a very individual process. Even the accomplished writers are tearing the hair out, haunted by deadlines, and plagued by self-scrutiny. Yet despite the struggle, the result is a polished product of your own making and by the time your piece gets to your reader, they cannot see the flaws that you have seen, as they are gone through your rigorous self-security in the writing process.
Everyone has to write in some capacity, whether for a novel or a CV. My advice to you is to listen to the podcast if you feel like you don’t want to write. We are all guilty of procrastination, so why not be constructive whilst you are doing it?
Image: Mohamed Hassan via pixabay