Why I Write
Let’s put it this way: I write because I must. Sure, I get frustrated, bereft of ideas and self-confidence. Like someone in a bad marriage, I’ve tried to quit writing and move on. I can’t.
They say you can’t give up the things you love. (Well, something like that.) And it’s true: I can say things on paper (Boy, that dates me, doesn’t it?) that I can never say out loud. I can input thoughts/feelings on Word that I could never organize in the middle of a heated discussion. I can’t always be funny or “quick” or articulate in the moment but can often get everything straightened out when I write.
I write because I want to hone my craft. Every time I read a fabulous book by some thirty something author, I want to die and come back as, you guessed it, a writer. I flip the tops of pages, underline, write notes in the margins . . . all so that I can learn from the “masters.”
Writing, like gardening, requires a willingness to change, to get rid of what isn’t working, to create new and fulfilling palettes. Right now, I’m in the midst of planting a new garden on the south side of my house, a restful, peaceful space where I can relax, read, and “see” in the shade.
Similarly, I’m in the midst of expanding my writing style to include a subtle sense of humor just like my dad’s. I’m no Irma Bombeck but a writer with a wry, understated style. Not an easy task, but I’m up for the challenge.
I write because I love to put the puzzle pieces of words, sentences, paragraphs, chapters, essays together and, along the way, figure out a little bit more about myself and universal experiences that affect us all.
Maybe some of you saw it: a list of what readers want on Medium. Medium is a site that, in reality, attracts some very talented writers who cover every subject on the planet from books to banks, from entertainment to ecology.
Today, Medium emailed “What Medium Readers Are Hungry For.” (As an aside, it appears as if my posts have not come close to dishing up what Medium readers crave.)
So, what do you want? Another ad to buy a book or sign up for 1,000 Twitter followers or tips on how to find love and happiness? Maybe so. But what I’ve learned under the tutelage of one savvy marketing guru (and supported by all kinds of surveys), is that social media doesn’t sell. It’s like trying to get folks to buy a lawn mower when they live in an apartment or to shell out money for a book about, say, siblings, when adults are onlies and they have no children.
With a Twitter Tweet limited to 140 characters, the format is down and dirty. Abbreviations are common; links are de riguer. Photos help a lot. But they eat up a lot of characters.
But back to the question: What floats your boat in the tweets you follow, “like”, retweet?
I won’t give you too many subjects Medium readers want. And, mind you, there is no word limit. Posters can write to their hearts’ content.
- Poetry (Really? I thought the nay sayers have decreed that poetry [excluding rap] is dead.
- Feminism (Again. That’s a surprise! The name Gloria Steinem means little or nothing to the majority of young females today. And who would ever think of burning her bra?)
- Black Lives Matter (Hmmm . . . Bill Clinton didn’t seem to think so a few days ago. And I’d reckon that the majority of Donald Trump supporters want all those black folks [and Muslims and Mexicans and immigrants period] to go back where they came from.
What subjects do you want to “like” on Twitter? When you get a Direct Message in which one of your new followers thanks you and then tries to sell you something, how often do you click and buy? Do you hunger for longer tweets? What’s the value of having followers who somehow found you but have absolutely nothing in common? (Followers with “Christian values” on chick lit sites with lots of sex. Or CEOs of janitorial services who follow self-described slobs.)
Is more more? Or more less? Or less more? (I opt for the last, but the odds are not in my favor.)