Writing has long been a part of my life. I can remember as a child, writing poetry and short stories in spiral bound notebooks with a pencil. I can remember using white-out to correct my mistakes on the typewriter. Today, many years later, I rarely put a pen or pencil to paper and probably don't remember exactly how to use a typewriter. (Although I am in the market for a great antique piece I can display in my office, so...if you find one...) Things have changed for me as a writer. All of my writing is now done on my computer, or on the notepad app on my phone. (I am certain that is a marketable skill of sorts... to be able to write 800 words as I wait in the carpool lane or pretend to cook dinner... all on my trusty smart phone.)
But the medium in which I release the thoughts, ideas, and stories from my head and into written word is not the only thing that has changed. The way we consume content and respond to it has drastically changed as the internet and social media have become a part of our everyday lives. As a result, many writers (myself included) are changing the way they craft and present their content to their audience.
All the Noise
Online writers are competing in a sometimes (let's face it...all the time) crazy internet world where millions of pieces of content are at an audience's disposal at any given time. Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest (to name just a few) are all filled with the noise of everyone and their brother trying to get folks to read their content. Writers must be able to create content that will be consumed, shared, and leave readers wanting more. Rising above the noise is no easy feat; it takes a great deal of trial and error, patience, and a willingness to learn.
Writers no longer have to wait weeks or months in order to publish their words. If they have their own blog site, they can publish new content at their own convenience and pace. This change can be both good and bad for a writer. We can hit publish before thinking things through and put something online that we haven't researched or may regret later on. The flip side of that is that we can obsess for weeks over one sentence in one blog post, never hitting publish on a piece that is actually pretty good.
This is definitely one of those good/bad situations for online writers. Never before has it been so easy for an audience to connect with a writer. Sometimes that connection is a positive exchange of support or the catalyst for a provocative debate. Other times? If you have ever published anything online, you probably know the other side of that coin. It is also much easier for someone to reach out with harsh criticism or hateful words.
This is probably the most important difference between online and traditional writing, in my opinion. Many writers share that their reason for choosing this form of expression is their desire to connect with other human beings in some meaningful way. The internet and social media has made it possible to connect virtually with any group of like-minded individuals you can imagine (and some you may not care to imagine). Getting your content in front of the people you really want to read it is easier than ever before.
Becoming a Better Writer
The noise of the internet and social media forces writers to constantly evaluate how they are crafting content and how to improve their skill. Instant gratification means that writers can produce a lot more content, and we all know that the number one way to become a better writer is to WRITE. Instant feedback gives us the chance to engage in conversations we may not have ever considered and to listen and learn from large groups of people who may never have commented on our work. And the connection online writers can create with their audience is priceless; it gives many writers a reason to continue creating their art form.
Many Kind Regards
It has been a year since we re-launched MKR from a personal blog into a writing community. As we continue to build this community as a place where writers can learn, connect, and be inspired to reach their writing goals, we will be launching new articles every month with the purpose of helping all of us excel in writing meaningful, effective content that will rise above the noise and engage our audiences online. Stay tuned, folks...great things are on the horizon here at Many Kind Regards...and we can't wait to share it with you!
Many Kind Regards,
Speaking of online writing... we all know that commenters can be *ahem* challenging. Check out how one of our mentors deals with "haters"
original photo credit: Hubspot