Writing Fiction: Already Signed Off

There is a training company in East London called Happy Computers. They have put in place a very interesting form of delegation: as soon as a task is delegated, it is signed off. Whoever has taken it on has full responsibility for seeing it through, and that includes approving the final product.

When I mention it to people from other companies they react in different ways: ‘they’ll just hand in shoddy work,’ ‘they won’t bother,’ ‘as manager, you have to approve all tasks because you have the knowledge of the overall work.’ All legitimate points. But there is another way of looking at it. Being given total responsibility means there is no one else to fall back on, no sense that someone will rescue you, the responsibility is yours.

Most writers want to be published. But what if that were a given? Anything you write will be printed and publicised. Wouldn’t that make you look in a different way at what you have produced? There will be no agent, editor or publisher to correct it. But you will have to live with the reactions of those who read it. Are you ready?

What strikes me immediately about this is that I might want to go back and make a list of the things I’m not so sure about, then work on them. My main male character, for one.

Reflecting on her career so far, the singer Jessie J has said, ‘I had to be the artist, I had to be the drive, I had to be the visionary.’

Friends, family, fellow writers, mentors, agents, editors and publishers fall away. Responsibility for what you have written lies with you. It has already been signed off.

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2 thoughts on “Writing Fiction: Already Signed Off

  1. With the ability to publish through my own press, I’ve started to think differently about what I write. I’m much more confident. That’s the plus side. The minus is that I always make a spelling mistake, no matter how much I proof read. It’s the one thing I think I can’t sign off on. I like that analogy.

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