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My Editor Is An Idiot

November 23, 2016

The note from my editor was supposed to tell me what to write about today. Here’s what it said,

Call Help Line

That was it. No context. And yet, I know the context was perfectly clear to my editor when he wrote it. He wasn’t trying to be confusing. In fact, he was trying to make sure I didn’t miss out on a cool story idea. That’s the whole reason he wrote it down; so I wouldn’t forget it. 

I know all of this because I am my own editor. Creating content daily isn’t as hard as you might think. We all spend hours daily talking, watching movies, making decisions, laughing at jokes. There are literally unlimited numbers of things to write about. Not all of them are interesting, of course. And the writing can take an exciting story and make it uninteresting: “George Clooney came into the store today, but I haven’t heard back from the carpet installers.” You can also turn a boring story into an interesting story, “The statistics showing why Trump won show the fascinating correlation between polling methodologies and the changing face of American diversity.” But, there are some topics that defy writing. You can’t put lipstick on a pig. 

When I get an idea for a column, I know that I’ll forget it if I don’t write it down. Those idea are often like dreams. They seem perfectly clear in the moment, but even a few minutes later I struggle to recall the idea: “Something about elephants and computer keyboards, but I’m not sure what the connection was.”

I write notes so that later I’ll know. Interestingly, when I’m writing the note, my editor-self has to convince my writer-self that we should write this down.

What a cool idea. I’ll write about that tomorrow.

You should write it down.

I don’t need to write it down. I know exactly what I want to say about it.

If you don’t write it down you will forget it.

Not this idea. This is one of those that sticks with you. 

Remember the elephants and the keyboards?

What about them?

Yesterday, I thought of an awesome idea for writing a post. It was so good, that my editor-self convinced my writer-self to write it down. Today, my writer-self was excited to tell the story. I didn’t bother trying to remember the details. I knew that I wrote it down. 

I honestly don’t have any idea what I meant. It was less than 24 hours ago that the idea was so vivid, so clear that I wasn’t even sure I needed to write a note to my writer-self. And because the idea was so clear, I felt confident in simply jotting down a few words. You know, just to jog my memory. 

Nope. I got nothing. Just the vague feeling that it was a great story that my readers would enjoy.

I’ll throw away the note from my editor-self. That well is now completely dry. I’m disappointed since I really wanted to write a post about that topic. 

Like I said, my editor-self is an idiot. 

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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(c) 2016 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved 

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