I turned down a gig recently. The prospective client had inquired if I could edit a screenplay, and I said yes. But what he sent me was a season’s worth of log lines for a SF/F TV series.
I’m in no way knowledgeable about SF/F. Not in novels or screenplays or teleplays or any other format. I didn’t feel qualified to critique, or try to improve on, his log lines. With regret, I declined the assignment.
I don’t write grant proposals either. They’re a specialized format that I’m not conversant with, and when someone approaches me to ask if I’ll write their grant proposal, I always say No and tell them why.
Now, you may be thinking, Why don’t you learn to write grant proposals? or Why don’t you read enough SF/F novels to become familiar with the genre?
Fair questions. But I have an answer. Nobody can know EVERYTHING. Nobody can be an expert at every form, every genre, every specialty. I’d rather stick with what I know and do well, and continue to hone my abilities and practice my craft in all those areas.
The other day I edited a poetry book. The writer was thrilled with my edits. It made me feel good to know I had not only done a good job but so very much pleased the writer.
Do you know the expression, “Jack of all trades and master of none”? That’s what I don’t want to be. I want to be GOOD at what I do. And I don’t want to do what I’m not good at. So I’ll keep declining, with regret, the gigs I don’t feel qualified for.
Why stain my reputation? It’s good as it stands now.
I think I’m making a good choice.