One Writer’s Journey

March 19, 2015

Writing Jobs or Help! I have a contract

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:14 am
Tags: , ,

Acknowledge your biasAbout a week ago, I got an e-mail from my editor.  Would I be willing to write a book about a hot button issue?

When I saw the issue, I cringed.  Black Lives Matter.

I didn’t cringe because I disagree.  Black lives do matter.  I cringe because it is necessary to state it.  I cringe because the statement is loaded.  And I cringe because I am one town over from Ferguson.  If you can’t place that place name, Google “Michael Brown.”  This isn’t an academic conversation for me.  This is happening in my back yard.

Any time that you write about something personal, you have a bias.  You have an opinion on the topic.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t write about something, but it can mean that writing about it will be difficult. The first step is in acknowledging your biases.  This might be where my political leaning pays off.  I’m more liberal than conservative, but I’m not at the far end of liberal.  Show me a source and I can tell you where the author falls on the political spectrum.  The situation is, at best, muddy.

One of the things that I like most about this editor is that she doesn’t insist on absolutes.  Witnesses contradict each other?  Say so.  Results were inconclusive?  Let your reader know. People contradicting each other? Write that down.

But I stilled worried about my biases muddying the waters so I told my editor where I live.  She didn’t even blink.  Or at least she didn’t type “blink” in her e-mail.  “No, I didn’t know that’s where you live.  But I imagine this is something that you’ve already given a lot of thought.”

Thinking and reading.  Reading and thinking.  Then I begin writing, carefully checking to make sure that my approach is balanced.




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