Letters from a Cat, 1879.

The Perfect Writer

Someone once asked me what made for a perfect writer. I thought about it for a long time and wrote a list.

The perfect writer can craft extraordinary sentences, arrange them into fine, balanced paragraphs, and organize those into well-structured sections that lead to an overall emotive effect that affirms the grandness of existence, while conveying useful information that can be applied to daily life.

The perfect writer is genuinely, even obsessively, interested in the minutiae of subjects that have market appeal, such as medical care, party politics, technology, jet airliners, fine dining, or tweens.

The perfect writer is a well-networked and experienced reporter, socially fearless in pursuit of scoops but not beholden to sources, entirely focused on accuracy, thoroughly fearful of litigation, and with a keen sense of dramatic scene.

The perfect writer never bites the feeding hand, nor bites the hand that feeds the feeding hand, and keeps a mental tally of the hands of brands.

The perfect writer meets deadlines, especially revision deadlines, writes exactly one-third more prose than requested to ease editing, is grateful to see it cut, and is not working on anything else.

The perfect writer is tolerant of having their commitment to veracity, their physical appearance, their cultural pride, their sexual integrity, their basic right to exist, and their educational bona fides challenged on the Internet through poorly-designed commenting systems, and is also an interesting public speaker, comfortable and on-point on radio and television.

Corollary to the above, the perfect writer is extremely attractive, or at least extremely unconventionally attractive, and dressed as if they work in British banking, but ironically. This writer, in appropriate dress, gladly participates, unpaid, in panel discussions about “ideas” that have been sponsored by oil companies.

The perfect writer is personally modest but excellent at self-promotion, and has a vast, organically-grown network of followers across Internet social networks, all of whom are eager to promote the writer’s panel appearances using pre-approved messaging.

The perfect writer has few material needs (payment is sometimes slow in coming) yet is not funded by think tanks or politically biased organizations. Nor should this person be overly academic, aside from guest lecturing at Ivies.

The perfect writer is morally upright in every regard. But never stuffy.

The perfect writer, finally, and in the interest of diversity, is a woman or identifies as a member of a minority. However, please note: To be considered perfect, she or he must satisfy, entirely, each of the requirements outlined above.