Discover more from What Makes Great Writing?
it might take a while
There’s this new commercial featuring a group of actors pretending to suffer from COPD.
Fake coughs. Dark lighting. Isolated lifestyle.
The voiceover drones about the difficulty of living with this disease.
No freedom. No movement. No friends.
And then - like magic! - they take the drug, light floods in through the windows, friends and family invite them to BBQs, and everyone is kicking the soccer ball around.
Gives me the ick.
I’m a marketer. I know what they’re trying to communicate.
HGTV time-lapse construction projects give me the same feeling. On television, that bathroom renovation delivers a shiny replacement in 60 minutes.
In real life, the process is jagged and painful.
During our bathroom renovation in 2021, we dealt with discolored floor tiles, uneven floors, poorly measured shower doors, faulty shower heads, uncentered toilets, and unruly grout.
I swore I’d never renovate another room. Then we did the kitchen.
Before-and-after commercials have their place. They can give a “down-and-out” person more hope than they’ve ever had. It’s impossible to go forward with no vision of the future.
The thing to remember is: when you decide to make a big life change, you don’t start from scratch. You also have to reverse the damage done to this point.
It’s like this with writing too.
I’ve coached students whose writing transformed in 6 weeks. Their new work got liked and shared online quickly. I remember thinking this was odd. How did that happen so fast? Was I that good?
Certain standout students seemed to instantly “get it.”
Then there were others.
The shares didn’t come. The “like meter” stayed at zero. More importantly — the writing didn’t get much better. Technique was a problem, but so too were ideation, focus, self-esteem.
For a while, I thought some people were just meant to be good writers, while others weren’t. Now, it’s pretty clear that some have just prepared better. They get fringe benefits from whatever life they lived before. There is no past-life damage.
Just like we all want a quick pill to resolve years of pain, we expect an instant solution to writing woes. 30 days of online writing and you’ll be transformed forever!
Maybe. Maybe not.
Writing “success” (whatever that means) might happen quickly for you.
But also, it might take a while.