Writers as Chameleons
What would you choose to be the mascot for writers? I'd have to choose chameleon. Anyone who has spent time adjusting to a new publication's style book -- their seemingly random rules about Oxford commas, quotations marks, words on their "don't use" list, what absolutely must be included in the first paragraph -- will understand why I chose the chameleon. Editors and publishers have a specific picture of their publication and they want their writers to adhere to it. Enter the detail filled, nitpicking style book. Have you ever gotten a response to an article or query along the lines of, "It's interesting but just not a good fit for our publication."? Translated, that means "Work on your chameleon skills." Only a chameleon (a.k.a. a freelance writer) could manage to remember the style books of multiple publications, seamlessly fitting in with a variety of different publications by providing the style of article they want.
We're not only chameleons for editors and publishers. We're also chameleons for our readers. Two articles about the same subject can be completely different if they are for different audiences. An article about the ever changing testing process in the public schools in my state will read very differently for a teacher audience and a parent audience. The same can be said for almost any subject and audience. It is up to us, the chameleon writers, to adjust to who will be reading and choose the slant, tone and details that will appeal to them. It's up to us to create an article that will appeal specifically to our audience.
The upside of being a chameleon is the opportunity to sell several articles on the same subjects. The downside is that it can be exhausting! Have you ever been a chameleon for writing?
Do you think our mascot should be the chameleon? If not, suggest another mascot!