Waseca County Pioneer 111 W. Elm Ave.

Waseca, MN (507) 837-6767


Writers can't please everyone

Each person has a distinct voice. 
When I read stories in the newspaper those voices are loud, clear and unique to each of the Pioneer’s writers. 
I sometimes wonder if others read in the same way I do. It’s quite enjoyable. 
I can always tell when Deb Bently has done significant work to a piece I have written. It’s still mostly the same, but as I hear it inside my head, my inner “ear” recognizes that something has changed. Often the changes are very subtle; perhaps some people reading the “before” and “after” versions wouldn’t even notice them. But I know at least some of the words on the page are not the ones I put there. Deb does a remarkable job working with my column, whenever I hand it in. The way she seamlessly integrates her editing and writing with my column is a thing of beauty. There are bits and pieces where her voice comes through, but often she does such a good job, I cannot distinguish my style from her editing. 
Several weeks ago my dad gave Rachael Jaeger an “A” for a story she wrote about Waldorf’s Restoration House. After hearing this I called Deb to ask how much work she did to the piece. I’m still learning Rachael’s style of writing as she grows into the role of being a reporter. Deb sounded a little uncertain, but said she didn’t recall doing a significant amount of re-writing. 
Working with a new writer, Rachael, has been interesting. I’m brought back to my early days as a reporter and the many good and bad traits I exhibited while learning. “Growing pains” is the phrase that best fits those days for me. 
In the same vein, last week I sent Amelia a couple corrections I saw in her column. I generally don’t comment on column writing, but whatever concern I had wasn’t content related. She, as she always does, welcomed the critique and again requested any input I have that will make her column interesting and relevant for as many of our readers as possible. 
I responded with something I’ve always said, which is that a column can be about anything: A person's day-to-day life, a lesson learned, a thought expanded upon, an interest or passion.
Last week I wrote about the elections and some of my interactions with folks. I try to use my column to give readers an “inside look” at what it takes to keep a newspaper operating. 
Two weeks ago, I wrote about the awards bestowed upon Pioneer writers and provided general background information about each of the winning stories. Previously, I hadn’t been able to share the stories behind those stories — because behind every story is another story. 
Three weeks ago I wrote about loss. 
I received numerous comments about that column. A reader stopped in the newspaper office yesterday to buy an extra copy of that paper to give to a friend. 
Moments like that remind me of my purpose. It gives meaning to my life beyond the ordinary. 
As a writer, I’m not going to please everyone. The same is true of life. 
Each week I simply try to connect with a topic which can command my attention and focus “my all,”  if you will. 
Throughout the week I’ll make mental and, rarely, physical notes about the topic germinating in my head as the days proceed. As deadline approaches (I aim for Sunday, Monday or Tuesday evenings), I sit down, collect my thoughts and start expressing them.
I enjoy writing in the evenings. Science claims the longer we are awake, the weaker our inhibitions. Maybe what that means is my brain is simply freed up from the day’s stresses and distractions. 
Other times, I’ll feel compelled to stop what I’m doing in the middle of the day and write. On several occasions, the urge to write has been so strong that I’ve gotten out of bed at 2 or 3 in the morning to do so. 
I know that I connect most strongly with works (whether written or in other media) which reflect the passion of the person who created them.  Knowing this, I do what I can to be genuine and honest in what I say while also  expressing my thoughts with some artistry and style. Few things done today have not been done before. 
As for what other columnists do, I have heard several ideas.
Bob Hanson, a columnist for the Star Eagle, reportedly carries a small notebook around with him, jotting down ideas as he goes about his everyday business. At the conclusion, he takes said notes and hand writes his column. Sometimes, his columns are simply a “running of the words” as he puts it. In this case, it’s quite literally a stream-of-consciousness– expression of thoughts which crossed his mind throughout the week. 
Dick Herfindahl, another Star Eagle columnist, likes to find a scenic place to contemplate life. He often writes about family, friends, his travels and more than anything, fishing and the outdoors.
Mark Bernard is an agronomist who writes a weekly column for the Star Eagle. He sits down every Tuesday morning and recaps the previous week, forecasts the weather and gives farmers an idea of what to expect in the coming seasons. 
Mark Domeier, a teacher at NRHEG, writes about many things, sometimes controversial topics such as what it’s like to be a teacher. He has written about the use of different pronouns used by students and Donald Trump, to name a couple more “controversial” subjects. But generally he sticks to school, his personal interests, family, friends, and often, his students. 
I almost always have to “encourage” Deb to write a column because she struggles the same way Amelia does coming up with topics. Both have done it enough now, however, that, from my perspective, they simply have to dedicate time for it while also feeling like it adds value to the newspaper. 
There are times I write in my column with one person in mind. Other times, many people come to mind when I say this or that.
At the end of the day, this space is my opportunity for thoughtful conversations with our readers. 
Thoughts from three writers: “I know, not everyone will like what I write, but writing is not about trying to please everybody. I am not here to please myself so don't expect me to please others. Doing the right thing even when no one is looking is easy if I remember that I am not in this life alone and that my task is to please God... not people.”
― E.A. Bucchianeri
― Amit Abraham
― Sandra C. Bibb


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