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Writer’s Log: 2007 The Spiral

[REF: my comment on Zarah’s blog]

I’m of a mind that, like many endeavors, the process of learning to write is a spiral.
LearnApplyReview
Learn -> apply -> review …

Hopefully, at each loop, one expands the spiral outward with the assembled knowledge and skill from the inner circles.

For writing, the complexity of the inner circles is limited: use proper grammar and spelling, use active voice, reduce the use of adverbs and dialog tags.

The further one gets from the center, the more nuanced the rules become — more like guidelines. Although the lessons become less specific, they become more challenging. One of those is finding one’s own voice.

What I find compelling about this visualization is that a spiral never ends: around and around we go, ever outward.

Lately, I’ve hardly written a thing: I’m in a wide curve, rounding from Review through Learn, approximately two-thousand hours from the center. (2000 on my way to 10k.)

This lull, I tell myself, is me digesting some of the more nuanced guidelines — like that of finding my own voice. That, as well as focus on the refinement of the writing itself. Story, not so much. Plot? Nope. Just the writing. The sound, the flow, the cadence.

Here’s some random exercises I’ve used to inch my way around the pivot-point:


100% of you are bloggers

Consider this:

A small town newspaper, with one reporter, one editor, one distribution manager, one advertising manger and one printer (all of whom are the same person) produces one edition per day.

The ONLY people who read this edition are the OTHER small town newspapers (those that also have a single reporter, editor, etc. all of whom are also a single person).

Imagine a network of small town newspapers that are read ONLY by other small town newspapers.

Does that strike you as strange? This is blogging.

Wouldn’t you, as a small town news/editor producer, want to have your paper read by other folks besides the editor of just the next-town-over newspaper? I would think that as a custom content provider you’d want to infiltrate other markets that are NOT just small town newspapers, right?

Something’s wrong here. It’s like were all just piranha (some small, some huge) all swimming in the same stretch of river. All feeding off of each other. What sense is that?

Why would I care that what I write is read by the next-town-over’s sole reporter/editor? Their town’s people ain’t gonna buy a copy of MY paper. (Nor will they actually by a copy of that editor’s paper…)

Blogging, as it turns out, is this incestuous, internally facing universe of people, writing, not for the world, not to be read by the “public”, but to be read by other bloggers — other small town newspaper reporters.

That seems like a broken model to me.