All the advice I might care to give about writing.
It's not much, but there are a few winding sentences that will strike terror in editor's hearts.
One of my favorite activities is to go back through my old blog writing and feel embarrassed.
Oh how I loved to give advice. I even had a series something to the effect of “advice to a young reader,” several blog posts I wrote with great excessiveness at the age of 26 or 27. As if I would know.
As life’s work carried me through the startup and content marketing world, I began shelling out advice at the request of boss and client. This took the format of click-bait headlines, a focus on search engine optimization (SEO), and a propensity to keep paragraphs and sentences short with plenty of white space, choppy chains of thought, and ever-so-many bullet point lists. We were trying to capture the fleeting reader, get them in at the top of the funnel, and then have a call-to-action (CTA) to get a sales conversion. Almost sounds like a religion or a visit to a mega-church, doesn’t it?
Write some words.
Show visually that there wasn’t much demanded of the reader.
Drop the hook.
Reel them in.
My love for writing winding, conjunction-filled over-hyphenated sentences that trailed along and self-interrupted—testing the reader’s mettle—was rewarded with a harsh command to stop doing that and change my style to what was more reader-friendly; I could tell that the more I wrote as desired, the choppier and more staccato my own thinking became and, before long, I struggled to read the books I used to read so easily.
I still do some of that writing for the sheer love and joy of being able to pay my bills. But in order to combat the effect it was having on my own reading and writing abilities, I have had to be purposeful about reading more.
In particular, after years of non-fiction, I’ve picked up fiction again, fiction with long sentences and publishing dates not always from this decade, fiction with characters that keep me up until 2 a.m.
But now and then I feel like I ought to give back to the writer world, despite my exceedingly low placement on the ladder.