Categories
The Internet Writing

With a blog, everything is a prompt

Liked Derek Powazek 🐐 (@fraying@xoxo.zone) (XOXO Zone)

The reason why retweet-style post creation is important is because it turns every post into a prompt.

Normal people need prompts. And social tools like Mastodon need normal people participating.

A blog with IndieWeb tools means that everything on the internet becomes a prompt. The entire Internet is my fuel for thought and writing, not just whatever people shared today on the socials. Everything is part of the “conversation” I’m “participating in” — just today, I’ve used a Mastodon post, email newsletters, and blog post as prompts — all from my home base online.

Of course, anyone on social media can pull in content from outside the silo — but that extra step adds friction. There’s a reason so many people are lurkers.

The practice of writing builds and reinforces an engaged, participatory mindset. The more you write commentary on whatever you feel like, the more comfortable you feel doing it: a virtuous cycle of writing and thinking.

In reading others’ debates over QTs in recent months, I’ve realized this is one of my main ways of interacting with content online: the quote as inspiration for another train of thought. “Reply” is not a good description of much of what I write here; I’d class most of my posts more as commentary than direct response. (To that end, I often post writing others might consider a reply as a like instead. My blog isn’t synced into the Fediverse, so this comment won’t feed back there — but that’s fine because I’m treating his post about QTs as a QT 😉)

A blog also feels like a safer place to write than social media; it’s a space I control, I’m not constrained by character count so I can add nuance, and it’s less subject to context collapse given the formats readers consume it (directly or via RSS). Sure, I reach fewer people, but virality is not something I want. Quality over quantity. (I might prefer a little more feedback than I get now, but I love my current approach to blogging too much to quit at this point.)

Categories
Meta The Internet Websites Writing

A decentered argument as website

This whole website nicely complements what I was contemplating recently about blogs.

Some relevant pages:

The bookness of books

Toward a nonlinear essay

You won’t find an instruction manual for writing a nonlinear essay in any of the pieces in this collection. And you won’t find a full argument for writing differently in any single piece, either. But my hope is that both of those things will arise out of the whole collection.

On the virtues of hypertext

In other words, the links matter more than the text.

Brown contrasts the glories of the hypertext web with the relative order of the the social media feed. The feed corrals the unkempt wildness of the web and organizes it all into a nice little stream, filtering out all the noise…

Categories
Outreach Resources and Reference Writing

Inclusive language reference guides

Conscious Style Guide

CSU Diversity/ Inclusivity Style Guide

Radical Copyeditor

 

See also: Disability language best practices

Categories
Resources and Reference Writing

Word lookup tool

Bookmarked Wordnik (Wordnik.com)

Wordnik shows definitions from multiple sources, so you can see as many different takes on a word’s meaning as possible.

Looks like the thesaurus might be good, will have to try more words 😉

First phrase I looked up was wine-dark which has always stuck with me from the Odyssey, but they didn’t have it 🤷‍♀️

Categories
Entrepreneurship Marketing Writing

Newsletter course

Bookmarked NEWSLETTER CLASS by Marlee Grace (marlee grace on Notion)

Expanding the language of your practice, cultivating social expression through knowledge sharing, and leaning into the art of the email list

2 hours

$43

 

Categories
Websites Writing

Investing time in longform writing

Liked Novelist as a Vocation by Robin Rendle (robinrendle.com)

As I was reading Murakami’s book I realized that I’ve trained myself for a certain kind of writing: short, tiny things that are self-contained. They only take an hour or two to write as I’m so focused on the production of writing (getting a blog post or newsletter out into the world) that I tend to ignore what these things might be if I gave them a bit more time. Writing for me is a rushed, hurried thing; something to be done on a plane or at the back of a cafe. My writing is frantic, sporadic, infrequent.

This tends to be how I blog; longer pieces that need more than one writing session molder in my drafts folder. I have 40 unfinished posts there now.

I need a process for returning to them and finishing them. Because rushing to cross it off my mental list can mean I’m not giving ideas the time they need to process.

Categories
Science Writing

Beauty in science writing

Liked The best writing in science papers: Part II (Scientist Sees Squirrel)

(Photo: Polyommatus bellargus (Lycaenidae), by Ettore Ballochi – CC BY-SA 3.0) Over 2 years ago now, over at the Tree of Life blog, Jonathan Eisen posted “The best writing in science papers: …

See also:

Rethinking the way we publish science

Imagining a better way — for everything

See also:

Working harder to reach audiences where they are by Alexandra Svokos

Similarly, news organizations should consider the tone of articles. Trust in media is low, and I’d venture to bet part of that is because we don’t write the same way we talk — which creates a disconnect, and thus mistrust, for the audience. Call a quote untrue when a source says something untrue. Live a little with your word choice. How much bothsidesism do we really need when one side is founded on spreading misinformation or hate-grounded rhetoric? Some of what I’d recommend is just basic good practice: Read your writing out loud and see if it sounds like something a human would say.

Emphasis mine.

Categories
Writing

Meaning through truthfulness in language

Liked Eleven Urgent & Possibly Helpful Things I Have Learned About Writing From Reading Thousands of Manuscripts by Jeannine Ouellette (Writing in the Dark with Jeannine Ouellette)

Our most important job as writers is—I believe—to make language capable of telling the truth. The essayist, activist, and poet Wendell Berry has written about this idea many times. In 2010, he addressed it in a letter to an English teacher and her class, writing: “By taking up the study of writing … you are assuming consciously … a responsibility for our language. What is that responsibility? I think it is to make words mean what they say. It is to keep our language capable of telling the truth. We live in a time when we are surrounded by language that is glib, thoughtless, pointless, or deliberately false.”

We must reject overly easy, overly familiar images and phrases and push ourselves instead for the slight adjustment that can make a world of difference.

This is what it means to defamiliarize language enough to let it hold truth. If the language is so familiar it washes over us, any truth it contains will be lost.

Categories
The Internet Writing

A better word for blogging?

Replied to Bring Back Blogging by Chris Coyier (chriscoyier.net)

I wonder if the term “blog” has too much baggage. Too much history for it to really catch on again and make a dent.

Maybe “publish your own feed” is a better framing.

On the one hand, it’s nice to have a specific word for writing on the internet, on your own website… but I agree that for most people blogging likely has a specific connotation that doesn’t reflect the kind of writing they do online. I doubt most people tweeting or writing on Mastodon think of themselves as microblogging.

So how about just calling it writing online? I know a lot of people don’t think of themselves as writers when they post online, but it still could have fewer prescribed notions than blogging.

There’s also simply posting (on your own site) which borrows the language for sharing content on social media, and is medium-agnostic so it could cover writing and photography and video and audio.

I also like explicitly framing posting your own writing on your own website as self-publishing — though the idea of publishing might sound weightier than writing online need be.

Categories
Getting Shit Done Writing

Read The 12 Week Year for Writers

Read The 12 Week Year for Writers

In this book we show writers how to use the 12 Week Year system to help them increase their productivity dramatically. The 12WY for Writers system, based on the principles of the 12 Week Year and honed over many years of helping students learn to write more effectively, is a strategic operating system for writers. The system helps writers answer the most fundamental and big picture questions: What is my vision for the future? What are my writing goals? What are the best strategies and tactics to achieve those goals? How can I manage my writing process to ensure that I stay focused, productive, and on track?

While the examples primarily draw from academia, the structure is also applicable to fiction writing. This book won’t help you figure out the steps of your writing project, but does seem very helpful for *accomplishing* the steps. I have some quibbles about his emphasis on grit, but agree with his overall philosophy of time >> writing and planning >> better, easier, faster writing.

I am excited to try out this approach in conjunction with Sarra Cannon’s Plan Your Writing Schedule workshop on YouTube, which starts by going through your calendar and identifying all the days you *can’t* write so you know exactly how many days are even available to you.