There’s been a common theme in my reading recently: everyone is trying to work their muscles, but not that kind of muscles. Their idea muscles, creativity muscles, will power muscles, and more. It think this started as a unique way of describing how everything humans want to do and be requires practice at first, and I have to say it’s caught on.
It’s an attractive analogy isn’t it? For me, it means tackling my big goals in small steps to build up my will power muscle. You wouldn’t try to bench press 100lbs cold, so why would you commit to a marathon training program if you’ve never been able to work out more than two days in a row?
Everything I read about writing falls into two camps. The first is technical advice, the sort of articles with 11 tips for writing blog posts that attract viewers or how to generate ideas. The second type of advice thinks of itself as above that and says only that good writers read a lot and write a lot – work out their reading and writing muscles, so to speak.
Essentially, writing for the web is a combination of the two approaches. Sure, I plan on reading every Neil Gaiman novel I can get my hands on in the next few weeks and I think exposing myself, at last, to his prose will be good for my writing. But even novels, these days, need to be optimized for SEO.
I kid. But think about this – I didn’t finally decide to read Neil until after studying his wife Amanda Palmer’s exceptional use of social media in her musical career. His own tweets and blog posts are not only beautiful, but well written to keep a target audience entertained and expose newbies like me to his style, to see if its something they’d be interested in.
So not only do writers for the web and web marketers and entrepreneurs like me need to work out their muscles, we need circuit training. Great, right after I cancelled my gym membership.