One of a writer’s greatest challenges is to fill conflicting roles but to prevent them from interfering with one another.
Creator. Editor. Critic. A writer must be all three, but not at the same time.
When writers don’t realize there’s supposed to be a separation of roles, and they allow them to merge and bully one another during the process, it causes a lot of problems, ranging from mental anguish to stifled creativity.
So, I’m going to explain each role and tell you why the writer must keep them separate.
Without the creator, the editor and the critic have no job. And since the creator leads the team, the writer must clear the path and allow the creator to do her work.
The editor and critic should not be allowed to interrupt, censor, or try to shape work in progress. And the creator should not be allowed to do these things either because it’s not her place to take on work that isn’t her’s.
A writer must keep the creator focused on harnessing ideas and laying down the words that show them. Any time the creator starts to veer off course, the writer must direct her to get back on track and tell her to flow baby flow.
The editor serves as technician and clean-up crew. Her job isn’t to over-indulge the creator. She must be stern and objective. She cannot judge with emotion, meaning she cannot fall in love with the creator’s words solely because they’re from the home team.
Where cuts need to be made, the editor must cut. When change needs to happen, the editor must demand change.
When the editor’s work is done, she should push a piece of work down the pipeline that’s correct, coherent, cohesive, and concise. That work should be thoroughly polished but feel like a natural gem.
Although the critic is an essential part of the team, she shouldn’t be allowed to speak or enter the work area until it’s her time to grind. Otherwise, she can disrupt the entire operation. If the critic arrives early, the creator may hardly create anything and the editor will never stop finding fault and demanding change.
The critic serves as management and general counsel. When she is called in, she must be given the authority to judge the team’s work and demand action if the creator or editor has fallen short.
The critic is there to make a ruling decision on issues such as quality and marketability. She is there to access whether a piece is appropriate for the time or setting. Part of the critic’s job is assessing how things are likely to be received and also what is or isn’t in the best interest of the writer’s brand.
And although the critic may ultimately decide that a project or a piece of it isn’t suitable for public view, she is not there to scold the creator for producing content that is risqué or nouveau.
The critic is also not there to critique and compare the team to other teams. Her focus is the product, not the producers.
A critic who discourages and condemns the team is a tyrant. She must be reigned in and replaced immediately.