Research and Writing

John_D(USDA 8b WA)February 22, 2004

I spent much of last week on the road and it looks like I'll be doing the same next week, though I'll be closer to home (no flying; shorter daily drives).

It's going to be interesting, because I'm still trying to digest the data from last week's trip. Fortunately, I was able to take copious notes.

But it seems that, the older I get, the longer it takes me to convert those notes into publishable text. That was not always so: in my younger days, when I wrote for newspapers, I was able to go out on an assignment, return to the newsroom, and type my stories straight into the computer. Now I need more time -- sometimes weeks or months -- to come up with a text I'm happy with. I'm not totally convinced it's a matter of age. It might just be a change in medium from newspapers with their immediate deadlines to books (and magazines) with deadlines that can be months or even years, in the future.

What kind of experiences have you had with deadlines? Do you ever have to write garden column/story a year ahead of time?

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I actually feel that the longer I think about something the better it is. I don't want to say this is a quality (the reality) of aging, but when I was younger I was more apt to rush into something. I do set deadlines for beginning a project, but by that time I've thought about it long enough that the words flow easily and the project completes itself quickly. Depth and quality come from the prolonged dwelling on the concepts and then when it's all right in your head it just pours out like good wine from a bottle.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2004 at 7:57PM
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John, I find it depends on the story. Sometimes I can hardly wait to get to the computer to write and other times I have to force myself to get the story done.
I am a journalist by trade (profession?) but only spend about one third of my writing time on garden topics.
When I feel inspired by the subject stories almost seem to write themselves - if not I labour over them for an hour or so, rework them the next day and send them off. After all newspaper stories today are tomorrow's rubbish. For the rates that garden writers get paid here in Western Australia one can not afford to put too much time into them.

regards Deryn

    Bookmark   February 24, 2004 at 12:32AM
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