Perth Diary Articles

Regarding The Perth Diary Column

Hi,

I figured I should let people know what’s happening.

I have not written any Perth Diary articles/columns for a month now. What happened?

Well, creatively speaking – I am burnt out.

But also, I am slightly fed up. It is not easy to write a weekly column without any editorial guidance as to word length or content. My emails to my contact at the paper regarding this, never get answered. Given that I only need one email stating all this from them not constant weekly communication – I don’t think this is much to ask for.

So after scraping the bottom of the barrel – hey, I have done this for four years now and have described Fremantle and my not so exciting life in great detail – I didn’t have anything to write about. So I didn’t write anything. And I did not hear anything from the paper who (for the online edition at least) have left the last column up and running for ages? What the heck is going on?

Will it start up again? I don’t know. I want guidelines as to content and word length – I don’t want to find out each Sunday that my article has been cut in half to fit the space without any actual editing and therefore does not make sense. I mean, seriously, I’m sorry but if you are an editor, either give me a word length or edit my work so that you get the word length you want but that it still makes sense. If you give me a word length, it’s less work for you and I am happy to write to it. I want to be able to write something really good and interesting for people to read each week. I would love it if people responded and let me know if they hated something or not – working without feedback is hard, I have no idea what or how I should improve.

Technically, I have been wondering whether to give this up or not for ages. So many people say I should continue doing it but then until I challenged them to write an article in the same vein for me weekly, they did not realise how hard it can be. They turn around and ask “How many words?” and “What about?” and I have no answers because the paper never gave me any. No boundaries and guidelines makes it very very difficult to write. How can I make a decision as to whether the content/length is appropriate or not? Can Isay this? Can I say that? Is that an acceptable style/format?

I don’t want to give anyone who does read my column any rubbish. I would like to give you something new to think about each week or describe something different – and I never want to pander to a preconceived idea of an audience by rehashing stupid or stereotypical ideas and notions. I think my readers are smarter than that so I respect their level of intelligence too much to do that.

So right now? I don’t know. Will it run again? Will this be a vacation? Will the paper want me to keep writing? Will I – more importantly – want to be placed in a situation with no guidelines yet again, thereby driving me nuts each week?

I guess I will have to let you know. Your thoughts on this are most welcome. I do have one more column written up that I should probably send in in the meantime though.

Cheers, Marisa

Marisa is a globetrotting freelance writer, journalist and editor with cat for hire (her, not the cat). She is currently based in Melbourne.

One Comment

  • Magdeline

    That sounds like a tough position. My take on it is that it’s impossible for anyone to work under such conditions. And it doesn’t help that your articles are just cut in half with no summation.

    Obviously you care about this project and have invested in it. I’d keep in contact with the paper to get some sort of answers before submitting any more work in. Despite its best intentions and yours, you’re best interests aren’t being served. I mean, is it something that you’d be okay with including in a list of publications with pride?

    But it does sound like you need a bit of a break and at the very least guidance from the editorial team.

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