As someone who likes to blog, or more specifically, enjoys the writing process, I noticed an abnormally lengthy void had formed where the occasional idea likes to grace me with its presence. I think the trip to SXSW ’09 sucked the inspiration out of me. It was a great conference, but I was taking in the same information as everyone else; and I’m a believer that what you write is a reflection of what you absorb. From what I’ve seen my notes look like everyone else’s and that’s not fun. Part of why I like to write is because I can bring a unique voice to an community crowded with homogony. There are definitely those worthy of following because their voices offer value, but many gain notoriety because they are first to the punch; RT an interesting tidbit before anyone else; blog live events.
The ecosystem rewards timeliness first, thought and insight second. Writing style is a distant third; very few bloggers have anything that resembles a writing style. Style is absent because, just like any other skill, it takes time to hone and develop. And if you’re busy developing a writing style you’re not publishing tweets or blog posts and that means someone else is going to get the scoop. And once 95% of the ‘social media experts’ have been scooped they’ve got nothing to offer. (Which brings me to another observation that culminated for me at SXSW: there is a surprisingly shallow understanding of business or business history outside the interactive media scope. That was disappointing for me, especially when it’s evident in some of the thought leaders in this industry. Do you really expect to be taken seriously if you don’t know that Motrin Moms wasn’t the first time JNJ had trouble with a pain reliever before? Or if you can’t understand the free market economic principles involved in spec work and the implications they have?)
(Who do you read? Is there anyone out there you think has style to their blog?)
Perhaps I’m biased because I’m horrible at creating massive amounts of content quickly. I’ve embarrassed myself plenty of times trying to rush a tweet out. Some people are great at it. I know there have been many times after I hit the post button I wished I could take it back and write something else instead.
Anyway, it seems that I’d fallen into the trap of publish early, publish often. But that’s not me. I need inspiration. I need an idea.
As for writing style, I’ll continue to work on mine; it’s far from perfect. I’ll leave you with an excerpt from one of my favorite writers, Bill Simmons, a writer anyone looking to develop a style can learn from:
The more interesting angle for me is how Twitter and Facebook reflect where our writing is going thanks to the Internet. In 15 years, writing went from “reflecting on what happened and putting together some coherent thoughts” to “reflecting on what happened as quickly as possible” to “reflecting on what’s happening as it’s happening” to “here are my half-baked thoughts about absolutely anything and I’m not even going to attempt to entertain you,” or as I like to call it, Twitter/Facebook Syndrome.