As I read through some articles on Pocket this morning, a question struck me: What’s the difference between the writing that sticks in my head, and the writing that doesn’t?
The writing that sticks has some personality. It’s “me” or “we”. There’s a perspective or an opinion. Compare that to the dreck of marketing content that doesn’t take a position, written with the air of loose authority.
(Cue the disembodied voices of endless marketing articles echoing from the depths of a content mill.)
It’s generic statements rehashed from thirty minutes of Googling because the author has no experience and didn’t have the time, or the motivation, to interview someone who does.
I’m guilty of it. I’ve chased broad topics under tight deadlines and hoped for the best. But there’s no conviction or motivation behind the words. It’s just regurgitated information shifted five degrees — a bad homework assignment that needs to be handed in on time.
I enjoy writing, and I write a lot. I have years worth of journals stacked in my office filled with notes and ideas. Yet most of what I share publicly is just a curation of what others have written.
A colleague pinged me on Slack a couple weeks ago. He follows me on Twitter and wanted to know my thoughts on an article I shared about grocery store influencers.
To his disappointment, I didn’t offer any take of my own. “Just write a few sentences”, he said. My reply? “I don’t have the time.”
Yet I have the time to compose wordy emails, to dive into Slack conversations, to soapbox and pontificate on back-to-back Zoom calls.
What’s the difference?
I’m not chasing keywords when I pour myself into those activities. I’m not concerned about SEO or word count. They’re off the cuff, unfiltered opinions, hot takes on issues, me offering a perspective on something that I care about.
So I’m going to try and do more of that. Here in my little corner of the web, I will try to write more, but only to get ideas out of my head, kinda like a one-way Slack conversation.
Let’s see how it goes.