I was driving to work last month when I heard a piece on the news about the death of Nora Ephron. I’d never heard her name before, but I knew some of the films she’d written – When Harry Met Sally being one of my favourites.
During the piece, the reporter mused how Nora famously quoted her own mother’s advice that, “Everything is copy”.
Everything is copy.
I guess this means that when writing, nothing is off limits. And it goes into other areas too, like the radio work I do and the blogging work.
Everything is copy. There’s copy everywhere in life. Everywhere.
Whether it’s something my daughter did yesterday, something my husband said the week before, something I observed in a shop or saw at toddler group or heard my mum say to my dad, or thought about driving to work… Everything is copy.
Or is it?
I’m always really aware that when I talk about stuff on the radio or when I write about stuff here, or in a feature for a magazine – or whatever – that while everything may be copy for me, that might not be the case for everyone else.
I write and talk about stuff that happens in everyday life – often this is observational stuff based on my own experiences (I figure my life is as good a place to start as any). But I’m not the only person in my life, there are always other people in my experiences.
And that’s where, “Everything is copy” becomes a bit shady.
I extend this to Facebook and Twitter too. But even if I’m tweeting about something about ME, or MY daughter, I’m aware that other people (family maybe) may have a different opinion of what’s acceptable as copy. Or, to put it another way, what’s acceptable to share.
And herein lies the problem.
Because for some people – those who have their copy filters set to a much higher level than mine – ideas of acceptability will clearly be far different.
When people (mainly friends) ask me if I ever feel like I’m sharing too much on the radio or online, or if I ever feel the need to hole up behind closed doors, I reply, “I’d never talk about something on the radio that I wouldn’t be comfortable writing about on my blog, or putting on Facebook or Twitter, or writing in a magazine.”
Like this photo, for example. This is a moment, between my daughter and I. A cuddle. No one else around. But I’m happy to share it here because I shared it on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram. It’s just a moment. A lovely moment. They happen all the time….
That’s not to say I always share moments like these. Some I keep just for myself.
But some people NEVER put photos like these on their blog. Or on Facebook. Or Twitter. Some celebrities have privacy injunctions in place around their kids so they can’t be photographed and put in the papers.
I’m not saying there’s a right and wrong. Just that I live somewhere in the middle of the two sharing and non-sharing extremes.
So I guess, while everything may be copy for me, it doesn’t mean everything is copy that gets published.
And THAT’S my filter.
What’s yours? Is everything copy? How do you set your copy filter?