Writing to order

by / Filed under Thinking

Unless you’re an academic or a journalist, writing to a deadline every day is a perverse past time, and not just because you’re unpaid. I find writing – by which I mean simply putting words, sentences and paragraphs together in order to form some sort of coherent, thoughtful whole – fun, regardless of what I’m writing about. Throw any Word poster of a craft event at me and I’ll mould it into a direct, understandable web page. But that doesn’t mean I could (or should) put something to screen every day.

If you haven’t a specific subject to write about, or if you’re not employed to find out and explain things, conjuring something out of nothing is jolly hard work.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you want to read what I end up writing. I’ll let you into a little secret: I’m well aware my blog is somewhat self–indulgent. I gave up writing solely about websites years ago, partly because I found it boring and partly because I no longer felt qualified to make grand statements about what people who build websites should do. By doing that I lost 90% of my search engine audience in one fell swoop. But then again, so what about that? I’m not marketing myself.

When I write now I have a vague idea of an audience – 20 or so people who bother to subscribe to the blog or reply to the odd tweet. And me. Mainly me.

So why try and write every day? Simple: writing is good for you. After all, the rules of logic are essentially grammatical, so if you can string a sentence together, and, even better, order several sentences in a logical, enjoyable or surprising sequence, you’re thinking creatively. Or, at the very least, exploring thinking. The more you practise the more imaginative you get.

If you have ideas, writing is the best way to develop them, even if no one’s actually reading your words. (And thanks if you got this far; perhaps, like me, you’re one of those people who just like reading blogs for the pleasure of reading.)