One Hundred Monkeys in Texas

August 8, 2008

Author! Author!

Filed under: Creativity,Newspapers,Writing — alancochrum @ 9:13 am
Tags: ,

I finished a consulting job yesterday. A family friend asked me to analyze a weekly newspaper in which he’s considering investing. He thought it might be handy to have an ink-stained wretch take a look at the product, and I was happy to oblige him.

The sense of relief/accomplishment that I felt when I mentally typed “30” on my report — don’t worry if you don’t understand; it’s a newspaper thing — merely confirmed something that I’ve long known about myself: I enjoy the writing process much more when it’s over.

When I was working years ago at the Waco Tribune-Herald, one of the opinion writers whose work I copy-edited was Lewis Grizzard, a longtime humorist for the Atlanta paper. (For those who are too young and/or insufficiently Southern, Grizzard was the Jeff Foxworthy of his day, with his roots in newspapers rather than TV.)

In his 1982 book They Tore Out My Heart and Stomped That Sucker Flat, Grizzard wrote: “I was back at my typewriter writing newspaper columns eight days after my [heart valve] surgery. … [I]t’s what I do for a living. I hate it. I curse it. But without it, I’m somebody else.”

Unlike the late Mr. Grizzard, I don’t really detest the creative process.  But as Boston Globe columnist Ellen Goodman noted once about herself (long after I had decided the same thing, independently), I like having written much more than I like writing.

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