The first assignment for my Writing for Radio class was to write a simple story – 1or 2 pages max – to be read aloud in class the next week. I was pretty jazzed on this assignment because the way that I read my writing aloud in my head sounds pretty cool and interesting. It turns out however, this is wrong.
My writing voice is so different from my actual voice that when I listened back to the recording (part of the exercise was that a partner had to record you reading your story), I felt this crushing disappointment because it well…sucked.
Well, maybe not entirely, but I didn’t sound like myself – I sounded like I was trying to force some somber tone into my voice that I couldn’t back up. I realized that I had been writing this thing as if I were going to be reading it on This American Life, or some such similar program, and was subconsciously adopting a serious quality that I hardly ever adopt when I’m literally just telling a story.
So, I went through this whole period today where I felt very defeated and sad – but then I realized what I was asking of myself – perfection on first go. Why would I think that I would be able to produce my desired effect in a medium I had never worked with before? I feel that I am able to write somewhat effectively (although that is highly debatable, etc., etc.), but I’ve never written for this medium before.
It reminded me that, like anything, writing is a craft that you have to work at, and with. While that first inspiration and ideas are important, if you don’t know how to work in the medium, then your ideas will fall flat. So, rather than getting discouraged by my first product, the braver thing to do, the smarter thing to do is to take that product and edit it until I feel okay about it, or at least until I have learned something.