The Internet Writing

What Makes a Book

Quoted December 2020: Fresh from Ganymede! by Robin Sloan (Robin Sloan)

I want to end this year by going back to the basics.

I think the kind of writing and thinking people do on the internet—on news websites, on social media, in email newsletters—is like campfire light, or the light of an inscandescent bulb…That kind of light blooms wide… and fades fast.

Collimated light is different. It doesn’t scatter and diffuse into darkness.

I think writing a book requires collimation: getting your material pointed in the same direction, filtering out the bits that wander elsewhere. … A book is a laser beam.

There is a sense I think a lot of people share: that their contributions to social media, even if they are bit-by-bit rewarding, don’t really add up to much. A sense of all those words just… burning away, like morning mist over a pond. And: I think that sense is correct!

By Tracy Durnell

Writer and designer in the Seattle area. Freelance sustainability consultant. Reach me at She/her.

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