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You're too Wordy. You Write too Much

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Recently on IRC somebody told me, "You're too wordy. You write too much"

I waited.

"Just meant that in a nice way"

He was right. I am too wordy. Here's why:

  • Blogging ain't essays. This isn't the NYT. I get maybe an hour to write something that's on my mind. When I'm writing for publication I rewrite at least three times. When I'm blogging most times what I write is what you get.
  • No editor involved. If there was one job I would want to see make a huge come-back, it's "editor". We all desperately need one. In fact, the need is so dire I'm chatting with some folks to set up our own secret writing club, where we can help others by editing.
  • It's not for you anyway. I love writing targeted material. But I've found that targeted writing is completely different from blogging. Both are fun, but they are different.
  • Mostly it's synthesis, not analysis. Analysis is where you take one thing apart, piece-by-piece, in order to discover how it works. Synthesis is where you grab stuff from all over, mix it around a bit, and see if any pieces fit together. A recent commenter noted "This was good, but you are thrashing". He's right. I was. To which I responded "Yes, but when I finally get to where I'm going, perhaps a couple hundred other folks will be with me. So as long as the thrashing is productive, it's all good"
  • Thinking ain't Tweeting. I love Tweeting, and FB updating. But all of that is just attempting to be succinctly engaging. How cute and clever can you be in 140 characters? If that's your idea of worthwhile content, you aren't going to like reading blogs very much.
  • On a good day, it's the start of a conversation, not the Ten Commandments. When I read an essay by some authors, I get the feeling that it's some kind of pronouncement from on-high. They're famous, and/or rich, and/or well-respected, and they're telling me exactly how some thing works. I'm there to receive the wisdom. But me? I'm wrong a lot. And I love it when people drop by and let me know it (in a nice way). If there's one thing I really want from others from my blog, it's feedback.I know I'm whacked. Help me figure out the many ways how.
  • I'm anticipating objections. That makes it run long. Whenever thousands of people read your blog, they are going to have all kinds of misconceptions. Part of the way I think -- the way I organize my information -- is to anticipate objections and respond to them. In fact, this blog entry itself is an example of that. I received some good feedback, and now I'm processing it. Aloud.
  • I swing at anything. I'm not a great batter when it comes to blogging: maybe 1-in-40 of my blog entries are good, and fewer than that are great But I've found that by keeping it up -- by writing as much as I can whenever I can -- every now and then I can still come up with something I find worthwhile and others do too. It -- along with the daily feedback the constant mediocre articles give me -- makes it worthwhile. What? You think it's better just to sit on the sidelines and never get in the game?

Everybody should write, as much as they can. It's the best thing you can do for yourself. I can't emphasize that enough. But you need to decide why you're writing. If you are marketing something, be tightly on-target, focus, and be viral and entertaining. If you're reporting or arguing something, be concise, clear, and make your content easy to digest.

But if you're writing mostly for yourself with other folks just tagging along, screw the people who criticize your style. Take your time, thrash about, go over the same ground as many times as you like, and work your way towards pulling together many different things and creating new things of value.

I have a dear friend who has tried blogging and various internet tools many times. She picks one up, tries it (usually by mimicking some other famous person she's seen), then gets bored when there are no results, drops it, then after a few months tries it again. She wants the results from creating online, but she doesn't really know how to create, how to form communities by creating, or really even why she's doing it.

Don't be that person. Find what you're doing, and whatever you're doing, do that. Keep doing it. Don't mix up your goals -- or let others mix them up for you.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by DanielBMarkham published on April 9, 2011 3:02 PM.

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