In my mid-20s, I worked at the TV station in Baton Rouge (WAFB, the CBS affiliate). I started as an intern, working for credit toward my master's, but within two months I was "promoted" to production assistant.
I learned a lot about television news there--things that never would've occurred to me as a passive viewer. One of my duties was to roll tape. (A position I'm sure is obsolete now.)
Here's how it worked: during the news program, the anchors talked about different stories, and after a brief intro, the director said in the headset, "Roll Tape B." Or A, depending on which deck the huge VHS-sized tape was in. That was my cue to press the red button, which started the news story.
It was a simple job that only required following directions and being able to press the correct button on time. Occasionally a tape would mess up, or there'd be some snafu, and I had to think on my feet. (Or panic.) But in the end, it wasn't really that big of a deal.
And production work was fun. There was always chatter in the headsets, and I was constantly giggling. It was also super-fast-paced, so it fit well with my undiagnosed adult-ADD brain.
I was there less than two years, but I got very good at writing copy for the anchors to read over B-roll. (That's when you're watching footage and the anchor's telling you about what happened.) I was never good at being an actual reporter--I've blogged about how painful the tags to my news reports were.
So what does this have to do with writing?
As writers, we all have our strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes they're the same thing. For me, my work experience has taught me to write very fast and get to the point quickly. That doesn't translate so well to novel writing.
I'll get a great idea for a storyline or a scene, and I'll charge right in there and get it down before it's gone. But the problem is while writing that scene, my undiagnosed adult-ADD brain often gets another idea for another great scene, and I'm quickly off to write that one down.
My first beta reader always complains.
JRM: This was a really cool scene, but you rushed off to the next thing.
LTM: I did?
JRM: Yes, I want to know more about what happened here.
LTM: Wait, tell me again how I wrote something really cool...
Is there a way to fix this weakness?
I don't know. I do know I'm usually able to beef things up in revisions, but gah! That's such a painful process, and I'm always convinced it would be so much easier to cut text than have to come up with new content.
Any of you guys struggle with this? Anybody got a trick or tip for me?
Alternatively, do you have a writing weakness you managed to conquer? I'd love to hear some success stories. Or solidarity! What's a writing weakness you're working on and want a tip to fix?
Til Thursday~ <3