“While you write, write. Don’t do anything else. Don’t edit. Don’t think. Don’t assess. Just write.”
These are the words of a writing coach and author I follow through her blog on power writing. I struggle with it all the time. Not the blog, mind you, but avoiding the temptation to edit while I write. The idea is that your writing should be fluid, a cascade of thought traveling from your brain – or your heart – to your fingers as they tap on the keyboard, and then onto the page.
I guess it’s the critic in me. Always thinking that what I just wrote isn’t good enough, I have to go back and rewrite it – make it better – before moving on to the next thought.
We do an awful lot of rewriting here in the AVMA Communications Division. When someone like me is given an assignment to draft a speech or some testimony, or write a press release or some ad copy, that’s just the first step.
After I write a draft, it goes through the long process of approval after approval after approval, fact check after fact check. It can certainly be laborious and time-consuming. But we all know – all of us AVMA writers – that the process is a necessary one.
You see, we writers aren’t the subject experts. That responsibility lies with the veterinarians on staff who have the final say on fact checking and such.
There are also people with whom the collective AVMA buck stops – folks like our CEO and our president, whose names often appear on and in what we write. They definitely get the final say on anything we write, no questions asked.
All of this reviewing, copy-editing and fact checking is part of a process we have in place to ensure that our members and members of the public are getting the best possible product we can produce. It ensures accuracy. It helps maintain consistency. And it keeps everyone in the loop.
So next time you read something from the AVMA – whether it’s a press release, a backgrounder or an FAQ – remember that we didn’t just slap the thing together. A lot of thought, effort and time went into it, even if we didn’t think much while writing the first draft.