Tuesday, March 08, 2005

If In Doubt Communicate

As an editor and writer in the publishing business, communication is key. It’s one of the basics which many writers fail to handle properly.

At the moment, I’m writing this note from a motel room. Over the weekend, a situation called for us to make an immediate trip. I had a number of editorial responsibilities which were pending and would be left hanging with this sudden trip. I could have ignored everything and traveled then handled the fallout when I returned.  It’s what many writers do but it’s not the best way to handle the situation.

Instead, I carefully thought through my various pending deadlines and obligations. Then I sent short to the point emails to each party and informed them about my sudden change and what it meant for their project. Like any business, good communications is important in the publishing world.  I didn’t communicate my change of plans to everyone—only the important, current and critical projects. You can carry your communications to an unnecessary extreme so you have to choose carefully and wisely in this process.

When you don’t communicate, then people figure you’ve missed the deadline or you have forgotten their project or you are unreachable or any number of other things where their imagination gets away from them. A short to the point email handles all these fears and keeps you on solid footing with the editor.

From my perspective, your communications needs to be straightforward and proactive. It’s my word for today about the writing life.

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