Writing technical documents and writing fiction sometimes use two very different parts of the brain, but there are still some lessons that apply to both. Here are some things I’ve learned on the job:
- There is no such thing as a perfect piece of writing. If you go back to an old piece, there are always some things you or someone else will want to change. At some point it, editing stops being productive and you have to decide call it finished.
- A good editor is a lifesaver. A good editor will help you sound more like you, and get your point across more clearly, rather than try to change your writing.
- You know your content best. Some comments are worth ignoring. You need to understand what you’re trying to accomplish and anything that veers away from that that should be ignored or debated.
- The act of writing is only part of the work. Researching, planning, and editing, usually takes up more time than you wish it did.
- Always be on the lookout for ways to make your work easier. It’s good to look back at how you do things, and figure out what worked and what didn’t. Improvement is an ongoing process.
- You’ll spend a lot of time waiting a lot for other people, and the only remedy is patience. Unfortunately, this also means that sometimes you’ll have to finish things in a last minute rush (that’s just how it goes!).
- If you don’t have a dedicated editor, a smart cohort willing to give you feedback, can offer invaluable insight into your writing. Hang on to these people, but know when to accept or reject feedback.
- You can’t control whether or not anyone actually reads your writing, but that part is not your job!
Are there any lessons you’ve taken from your work that you can apply to fiction?