When An Article Doesn't Work

I'm fortunate in that most of my article-writing skill comes easily for me. I research and interview and put in the time but for the most part I don't struggle to pull an article together.

Not so with this week's project. An editor friend asked me to write a humor article for the medical cat journal she produces for a University. A lot of the articles in the magazine are straightforward, fact-based text. She liked the idea of adding a dash of humor to the mix. We decided I'd do a sort of Letterman Top-1o list about why cats bring humor to our lives. But she also asked I interview a few experts and sprinkle in their opinions, to give the article a bit of weight.

Honestly, I expected to toss this article out in an afternoon.  Hasn't happened. I have been playing with this thing for 3 days now and it's still not coming together. The problems are several-fold:

  1. I always tense up when writing for a friend. I have that whole "need to prove I didn't get the work just because it's a friend and therefore I must submit genius-level work" complex.
  2.  I'm having a much harder than anticipated time melding the "funny" and "serious" aspects of the article.
  3. Word Count. A simple 1000 words is usually no problem. But for an article that revolves around a Top 10 list, I'm struggling to fill the space.

I was hoping to submit the article this week but it's not in the cards. I need to just stick the article away for a few days and come back to it with a fresh perspective. Frankly, I have the nagging feeling my best bet would be to scrap what I have and start over. I'm working too hard to make things flow which is a red flag that the pieces just don't fit together.

A few dear writer friends have offered to read what I have and give suggestions but egads--I'm so unhappy with what's there I shudder to hand it off to anyone else. Might be time to put the ego aside and do just that though.