The Writer Guy
I’m the writer guy. If you’re not sure what that means, allow me to explain…
Being the writer guy is like being the guy with the truck. If you’ve ever been the guy with the truck, you know exactly what I’m talking about. You’re the person everyone calls when they want to move to a new apartment. Or when they buy a major appliance and can’t afford to shell out the additional cash for delivery. Or when they need someone to haul 16 pallets of peat moss to revive their dying azaleas. Owning a truck automatically brands you as the default delivery service for every friend, relative, and distant acquaintance with access to your phone number or email address. If you’re lucky, they pay you with pizza and beer, and maybe $5.00 to cover the half tank of fuel you burn making 32 round trips to their new dwelling of-choice.
Being the writer guy is sort of like that, except you don’t get the pizza and beer. Or the $5.00. When you’re the writer guy, you become the editor and ghostwriter for every neighbor or coworker who needs to string together more than three coherent sentences in written form.
I’ve been asked to look over and critique just about every kind of written material you can imagine, from technical manuals to love letters. (By the way, the phrase ‘look over and critique’ is code. It roughly translates as, “please turn my four paragraphs of rambling notes into eight pages of scintillating prose, preferably with footnotes, a bibliography, and a cover page.”)
Over the years, I’ve written (or re-written) a master’s thesis, two doctoral dissertations, four or five major contract proposals, and every kind of report, performance evaluation, and letter of complaint that you can imagine. I’ve ghostwritten so many term papers that I’m prepared to audit nearly any college course you care to name. I’ve drafted so many resumes that I could probably get a porcupine hired to work in a balloon factory. I’ve used the writer mojo to help love struck males woo women I’ve never even met, and — when the letters did the trick — I’ve even helped a few happy couples craft their engagement announcements.
Fiction or nonfiction, official or unofficial, platonic or romantic, I’ve helped people write flyers, posters, newsletters, brochures, school plays, formal grant requests, and children’s books. So far, no one has asked me to assist with horoscopes, fortune cookies, or pornographic memoirs, but it’s probably only a matter of time.
If there are words to be written, somebody calls me. I’m the writer guy. I’m not the only one, thank God. I have lots of brothers and sisters out there, each doing his or her part to keep the written language alive. Otherwise, I’d never get around to working on my own stuff.
I know it sounds like I’m complaining, but I’m not. Oh, I may grumble a bit when you ask me to spruce up your thirty-page report about rodent control in housing developments adjacent to canyons, especially if you attach an unreasonable deadline. (No hurry. Anytime this afternoon is fine.)
But the truth is, I like being the writer guy. I take pleasure in finding new ways to communicate via the written word. I enjoy the challenge of trying to match the tone of the work to whomever I’m writing on behalf of. A report by Bill Jenkins should at least sound as though Bill could have written it. This can be especially entertaining if the supposed author has a vocabulary of fewer than thirty words, but that’s another blog for another day.
Being the writer guy can be time consuming, and sometimes it gets in the way of my personal plans and my professional agenda. The gig rarely pays off, not even in beer and pizza. But I can’t stop doing it, because it’s part of who I am. The sense of satisfaction that comes from cranking out a good piece of writing far outweighs any minor inconveniences, or the impact to my personal schedule.
Unfortunately, I also happen to be the guy with the truck…