Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Zinsser: Believe in yourself and in your story

Amy passed on this "excellent link," and it's good stuff: via Poynter, William Zinsser, author of "On Writing Well," checks in with some advice for writers (and, perhaps not so unintentionally, editors).

One graf caught my attention: "It’s natural for writers to worry about how their editors and publishers will respond to their work. But this preoccupation can be crippling. When we focus on what our editors want, we tend to tell the story we think they want to hear rather than the story we want to tell."

That probably resonates with a lot of writers in here, and should with editors as well. But here's the thing: Editors are never not going to have ideas about how a story might be, could be or should be done. I'd encourage writers to do what Zinsser says -- fight for the story you discover and believe is important to tell. Any editor worth anything should recognize and welcome a better story idea, and should go about the job of helping you do that story as well as it can be done.