Finally, it’s my month. Yep, September is Be Kind to Writers and Editors Month. Luckily for me, I am both a writer and an editor. I’m not sure if that means that people have to be doubly kind to me or not, but I’ll take whatever kindness I can get.
I don’t know whose idea this naming thing was, but I’m sure it must have been some hurried, harried put upon and downtrodden writer and/or editor. Whoever it may have been, she or he gets my undying gratitude.
Not to get too maudlin here or anything, but I have always felt that the writers and editors among us have been some of the unsung heroes of the human race. We know most of what we’ve learned due to the diligence and hard work of writers and editors.
Picture a world without books, magazines, films, musical lyrics, science (someone wrote all those science books), manufacturing (someone wrote the manuals), medicine (ditto both books and manuals) and on and on. Remember, after something is invented it has to be written down in order to be replicated and used.
In order for us to be Edge You Kay Ted (say it quickly) we must be educated. That takes books + writers + editors to insure that what was written says what it was supposed to say in the best possible way. In other words we can say educated instead of Edge You Kay Ted.
So show it already
How is one supposed to be kind to writers and editors? Simple, read what they wrote and then give a little feedback. Of course we can’t read everything, but when you find something you might like then buy it, read it, tell a friend about it and yes, tell the writer. It’s easy to tell a writer you like something (or hate – any feedback can be helpful) they wrote. If it’s a book you like just e-mail or write a letter to the author. Send it to the publisher and the publisher will then forward it on. You may be surprised at how many replies you get from the authors.
Nearly every single writer I know responds to messages and letters. They are always appreciative of the time someone took to correspond and invariably will answer. Editors are also like this – they love it when someone notices the work that went into something. Aren’t we all like this? Don’t we like it when someone tells us what a great dinner we cooked, what a wonderful job we did painting our kid’s swing set, how wonderful we did at work?
A break in the communications
The problem with communicating with a writer is often distance. Most of those things mentioned above are said from person to person. With a writer or editor you can’t often do that. Who knows where the writer is who wrote the book you just finished? Or, even if we know how to get a message to a writer, for instance sending e-mail to a newspaper or magazine, it still takes time to sit down and write the message. And let’s face it; we’re all so busy we hardly have time to breathe.
I don’t mean that it’s important to tell a writer something is good (although it certainly is) but rather the simple act of communication itself is important. If you think something is important and communicate it perhaps something else will be written about it. Let’s face it, communication comes not from a writer or a reader – it takes both of them.
So here’s an idea, the next time you read something look at the name of the author. The next time you watch a film or a TV show, look while the credits roll for the writer’s name. Do the same thing for the editors name in any film, or magazine or newspaper. If you run across an author whose work you like, keep reading her or him. Sit down and send off a quick note simply saying you enjoyed it – or hated it and why. The author will thank you for it more than you will ever know.