Caring for a Writer

So you want to work with a writer.  Or maybe you’ve already hired one. 

If this is your first time, you may be confused by some of your writer’s behaviors and you may  realize that you do not know how to manage such a person. While some writers do appear to be exotic creatures, properly caring for your writer is rather easy.

It may be difficult for business types to understand the type of care required to keep a writer happy and productive. Payment, ideally in cold cash, is the only care needed to keep business people happy. For them, it is all about the bucks. Yet writers have artist’s hearts that cash doesn’t nourish.

If you hired a good writer, she will feel personally invested in your project and so she will pour her whole being into the task. Thus, when she presents to you her work it feels as if she is handing over to you her newly birthed offspring; she has tender feeling for her writing and is a little protective of it.

How do you properly care for your new writer and get the best work from her? What will keep her at her desk deep into the night slaving loyally on your project? How do you lure inspired writing from her?

Coddle your writer! (Kidding!) (Not kidding!)

I recommend that you generously respond to your writer’s work with the following lines:

  • How clever of you to use “amber” instead of “yellow” in this sentence!
  • Your placement of the comma in line 15 on page 50 is a work of art!
  • I noticed that you moved paragraph 3 on page 4 to page 8. That is brilliant!
  • Your wit in this section is delightful!
  • Aaah! Your words flow so effortlessly, like a dream!
  • How did you write something so perfect so quickly?!
  • This is fabulous! I’m speechless!

You need not worry about turning your writer into a lazy brat by over-praising him. He may momentarily revel in your glowing words, but he won’t believe them for long.  Your exuberant and detailed feedback nourishes his soul, and to do her best work she requires this sort of nourishment on a regular schedule.

Riddled with self-doubt, the sensitive heart of a writer is dispirited by harsh words, harsh editing and any hint of disapproval. Edits, critiques and changes are an integral part of the writing process, but to your writer it feels like a trip to the woodshed. You can keep her spirits up and her hands on the keyboard during this process by liberally mingling words of glowing adoration along with the needed corrections and edits.

With just a little coddling, you’ll have a happy productive writer and her work will show it.

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