There’s an excellent website called Letters Of Note. They reproduce, as you might expect, letters people have written (Where will such websites get their material in the future, in this age of e-mail and text, I wonder?) that are special, or significant, or just plain fascinating in one way or another. Trust me, go there and you’ll be there all day.
I was just reading a letter written by the ad executive David Ogilvy to someone seeking advice on the art of copywriting, and one sentence really stood out for me. It sums up, I think, how all writers must feel when presented with well meaning advice, expert opinion, or (more often than not) ignorant utterances from those who see only their own world in your writing without first trying to see yours. It was this:
“If the client changes the copy, I get angry — because I took a lot of trouble writing it, and what I wrote I wrote on purpose.”
If people could only remember the unseen effort people put into the things they do then who knows, perhaps they would not make their little ‘helpful suggestions’ so lightly? Now wouldn’t that be nice.