“All writers are vain, selfish, and lazy….”
So writes George Orwell in the conclusion of his essay “Why I Write”, which — as the noted historical novelist Thomas Mallon has recently observed — displays Orwell’s “clear awareness that self-loathing and self-love are locked in a tight, procreative embrace.”
According to Orwell, the generative interaction between self-regard and shame are first on the list of reasons writers decide to write.
“Sheer egoism. Desire to seem clever, to be talked about, to be remembered after death, to get your own back on the grown-ups who snubbed you in childhood, etc., etc.”
As we’ll see, it’s often their emotional reactions to childhood snubbing — or similar experiences — that drive writers to take action, become authorpreneurs, and begin the hard work of building their brand in a competitive modern marketplace.
Recent analysis of content readability has shown that most readers like bite-sized bits of information. This means headings, sub-headings, short paragraphs, and quick sentences are always a win.
If you’ve ever worked with Craft Your Content’s editorial team, you know that we spend a lot of time breaking your writing up into smaller parts.
In the busy, digital information age, this makes even more sense. Think of a commuter reading off an iPhone as she moves around the city.
Because she’s reading in short intervals from a device in a busy environment, she must be able to easily recall where she is in the article or post whenever she’s distracted. Headings, short words, sentences, and paragraphs will help her remember where she left off.
Less complex things are easier to remember.
“Mindfulness” is a term you might expect to hear from your hot yoga instructor during a lecture on the benefits of mixing ancient algaes into your coconut water, before he wishes you “Namaste” and peacefully glides away on his fixed-gear.
It’s fair to be sceptical when new, vaguely spiritualist buzzwords are increasingly bandied about by journalists and policymakers as possible solutions to the social crises and intellectual stagnation of Western society.
Very often, these terms are an attempt to repackage an older idea that everyone is familiar with. The repackaging is not without its benefits, however, as it tends to highlight elements of the original idea that are more relevant to contemporary circumstances.Continue reading
Endless stimulation and engagement are what the internet seems to be built for.
However, the infinite links between billions of texts, videos, and images have also shown us how quickly we can become bored by each new piece of flotsam that wells up from the fathomless depths of the cyber-ocean.
Jonathan Franzen characterizes engagement with the internet in the following way: when we project “ourselves onto a cyberworld … there’s no end of virtual spaces in which to seek stimulation, but their very endlessness, the perpetual stimulation without satisfaction, becomes imprisoning. To be everything and more is the Internet’s ambition” (Farther Away).
Franzen’s essay goes on to reckon with the suicide of his friend and fellow novelist, David Foster Wallace. Wallace’s depression, Franzen reasons, was bound up with his inability to escape boredom.Continue reading