Dorothy Parker is credited with capturing the collective torture and euphoria of the writer’s life with the now famous quote: “I hate writing. I love having written.”
Similar sentiments grip millions of writers every day. There are many reasons why: obsessive editing, fears of inadequacy, the hope that we can somehow rise above the rancorous din of voices that make up the modern “conversation” all play their part. (Yes, sadly, for the writer even hope can become a synonym for ‘torture’).
These concerns are valid, but keeping them in check is critical. At stake is the very craft itself.
Imagine living in a world where writing is seen as a necessary evil, an iterative tool, the province of spreadsheets and data. An activity designed to churn out words in an order prearranged and preordained by a computer program to be “optimal”. For many writers that sounds startling, uncomfortably similar to the world we live in right now. And that’s a shame, because it’s not true and it’s time to stop acting like it is.
Writers deserve more. Readers deserve more. You deserve more.
More Than B2B Content Marketing ROI
I’ve been a B2B marketing writer for five years; I understand the nature of SEO and its all-powerful overlord, ROI. I’ve lived the lifestyle of keyword density, backlinks, and CTA’s for a long time. I know that for marketing content writers, these concepts directly translate into one thing — food on the table. Writing for writing’s sake is important, but whether we like it or not it’s also ultimately just a hobby.
So, to be clear, I’m not advocating against food on the table. Every time I crack open a cold beer that I paid for in words, I too love having written. What I am arguing is that it’s not an excuse to remove the joy from the craft entirely.
It’s very easy to fall into the trap of cynicism. Recently, much digital ink is peddling self-defeating prophecies about content marketing:
- “There’s so much bad content in the world that the good content gets ignored”
- “Video and audio are taking over. Writing isn’t as important anymore”
- “Everything is done so formulaically”
But here’s my challenge to you. Even if you think these things have some truth to them, tell me….why do you care so much?
How To Become A Writer? Be A Writer.
I’m constantly perplexed by writers who claim their joy in the craft is in free fall because the impact of quality content is being obliterated by bad/oversaturated/formulaic content marketing tactics. These claims either don’t understand what’s actually going on, or are a deliberate and cynical attempt to wallow in the false comfort of victimhood.
Is there a lot of content in the world? Yes. Is a lot of it repetitive and bad? Perhaps. But what focusing on these (perceived) problems really does is divert your attention away from your own anxieties and perceived failures. In many cases, it reeks of sanctimonious jealousy.
In every case, it makes you a victim that should not — cannot — be held to account for your own writing.
It is objectively false to say that quality content cannot get noticed. Online communities are still built. Individual posts still go viral. In an interconnected world, quality content wins. Don’t fall into the victimhood trap — don’t turn the need to earn readers’ attention into a self-fulfilling prophecy that no one will pay attention.
Sure, it’s harder now. Welcome that challenge and rise to meet it. Writers need to quit the obsession with the results of ‘having written’ and start focusing on the love of writing, no matter the results.
Get back to basics. Love to write. The attention will follow.