Wednesday, 2 June 2010

who reviews the reviewers ?

As you may or may not know or be interested, one of the creative groups I am involved with is based in Southampton. Beacon. They produce, amongst three series, (currently) all of which I have written for. It's a completely voluntary group. Amateur Video production (which somehow sounds sordid whenever you tell anyone).

The group survives, in the same way that many others like it do. On the blood sweat and tears of a few very good people. Beacon is fortunate enough to have my good friend, Stephen Launay as it's head. His number two, Chris Wilkes is equally as much a 'must have' component as a video camera.

Anyhoo.  Tonight, I submitted my second review for the in-group magazine 'Venturer Magazine'. Now, I'm only just getting started on this reviewing lark. Barely warmed up. With a deadline looming - and me deciding to be uncharacteristically three days early, a thought occurs to me. It occurred to me AFTER I had hit the 'send' button on Evolution Email.

Who reviews the reviewers ?

Okay, that's not as dumb a question as it sounds. I know, of course that perhaps the most obvious answer is the readers, as if they don't like what the reviewer writes, they won't read their column in future. In the case of paid for press (don't get started on that subject, we'll have someone from SkyNews crying about how they can't make money from print media any more), they may not even buy the publication any more. With web media (blogs and the such like), an offended or disgruntled reader will avoid said blog or website, probably for quite some time, possibly indefinitely.

Sure there's an editor in something that other people produce, like the magazine. The writers as much as the readers rely on them to ensure that the world doesn't go to hell in a hand basket when the next issue hits the news stands.

Written words is just like spoken ones, except they're written down. Dummy.

Well, except no. They are not.

When I speak to someone in the street, the don't generally tell me that they don't like what I said, or how I phrased it, which words I used etc etc. They may well think it, but they wouldn't say it. People would consider that rude, and invasive to be that specific about how or what someone says. Speech writers know different. Speech writers, well the clue is in the name, they write speeches. Before the speech, comes the write. Before the page, comes the writer.

Editing, or feedback, or whatever you want to call it, is something that most people are more than a little weird about. As a manager in a call centre I spend much of my time letting people know about how x, y, or z went, and if it could have been done better. But, you know what. No one is perfect. To try, is great, as an ideal, but really, there is not any expectation that perfection should ever actually be reached. Is there ?

If there is, then maybe that's why I don't get bonuses or promoted.

I digress.

Writers chose, sometimes consciously, sometimes subconsciously to have their output, edited, reviewed. Whatever. I guess part of being a successful writer, is knowing which advice, edits or feedback to accept, and which to dismiss. If I figure out what's what, if I make a success as a writer, I'll let you know. I'll let you know by selling you a book to tell you how.

<slap> Dammit. Digression.

No one in their right mind (or even their write mind) would have someone sat on their shoulder, constantly telling them how speak differently, what to say, when, to whom, and how to say it. What pitch, what cadence. What voice.

When does feedback mean it's no longer YOUR voice.

This blog doesn't have an editor - hell most of the time, it doesn't have a blogger. You may wish that it did (have an editor). As a person, I work best when I am struggling to find the balance between two equal and opposing natures/qualities. There's a part of me that might sit there thinking 'I DON'T WANT to change what I've written. I liked it. Stuff them.' There's also the part that says, 'IDIOT. If you ever want people to like what you write, you have to learn how to do it better, and better is a journey. It's not a destination. You never get there.'

Better is to writing, what tomorrow is to schedules. Something you can think, plan and organise, but will never actually arrive at.

If they said at the airport :- 'Ladies and gentlemen, the plane now at gate 53, will leave, but it will never arrive at your destination.' No one would get on that plane.

No one would take that journey.

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