1.28.2014

I Rock - How to Become a Good Writer

Today I cranked out two articles for the company newsletter and I was quite amazed by how awesomely I rocked them, in both speed and quality.

Most of the content was provided by other people, all of whom are more or less literate in the English language, from what I can tell. Yet, I took what they gave me and "word smithed" it into pure genius. OK, maybe that's an exaggeration. But I did crank out some good articles, expediently, and made them interesting to read.

I basically write stuff as if I am the reader. If it makes me want to keep reading, then it's good, in my book, pun intended. This is more of a challenge when I am the writer of the screed. It has to be extra good so that I will want to keep reading and re-reading my own work, as I am editing it into the final draft. In one of the articles I wrote today, I also had to think about word count, which forced me to be parsimonious and think about optimal use of words and phrases. I actually think I could have applied Occam's Razor a bit more liberally, but we'll see if they take it as is. I get a lot of satisfaction when I find a way to word something creatively to say as much as possible with as few words as possible.

Actually, I am far from great at that, but I think all my creative writing on blog posts has really paid off in terms of writing better articles. I was kind of dreading writing the articles, because a few years ago, before I became so prolific with the blog writing, I used to struggle with news article assignments. I think most of the struggle was just poor mechanics. Efficiencies. It seemed like a slow slog because I didn't have the processes honed. Now I do, and it goes fast.

One of my backburner goals for 2014 is to start a newsletter with my friend Sherry. The working title is "the 2 Minute Reader." It's going to basically just be a 2-sided 8.5 x 11 page, with short blurbs and articles designed to be read in two minutes or less.

You know when you eat cereal and your mind wanders to the text on the cereal box, and you read it, even though it is pretty boring and you have already read it like 50 times on previous mornings? Well, the 2 Minute Reader is supposed to be a substitute for that. It will actually be short and easily readable tidbits, more interesting than the list of ingredients in Cheerios.

The demographic we will be going for is the morning coffee shoppe scene. Yes, the coffee SHOPPE scene. It's more sophisticated than the average coffee shop patronage. I am just kidding. It will be for everyone. The plan is to take it to a local coffee shoppe, plant a few of them on tables or in a bin near the door, where the other free journals are located, and then observe people to see if they consume it.

The long term plan is to have it explode into an awesome and widely consumed thing. I want it to always be free and without ads, but maybe it can have a web site associated, which people visit to leave comments and there can be affiliate advertising on the web site that pays the costs of printing. Maybe it can be an e-zine too.

All a pipe dream right now, but writing these articles at work has rekindled (sort of a pun...) the idea, and illustrated that it would not be as hard to generate the content as I once previously thought. Indeed, the content can be largely nonsense. It just has to be better than the back of a cereal box. Who knows, maybe General Mills will start printing them on the backs of cereal boxes. Why they would, I have no idea.

In other news, Jessica Alba wrote a book.

No comments:

Post a Comment