The Sword May Be Mightier Than The Pen

Over the past few weeks, I will be honest and say that I’ve been seriously thinking about writing less. Much less. Even just stopping – cold. I don’t think I will, ultimately, or truly can, because writing serves some basic needs for me. It helps me focus my thoughts, because, well, I tend to have lots of thoughts swirling around my head, unstructured. Writing it here forces me to structure those thoughts and move forward. The problem for me is that writing a public column on a weekly basis is really hard. I don’t know how tech writers pump out 3-5 posts per day, sometimes more. I don’t know how Fred Wilson writes a blog every day. It’s amazing because it’s so hard to do.

People often ask me “Why don’t you write full-time?” or “Can you model your blog after Fred Wilson’s?” The answer to question #1 is that I couldn’t hack it. My brain would fry. I’m struggling to do it once a week as it is. The answer to question #2 is that, sure, I’d love to, but he developed and engaged with an audience over so many years, at a time when it wasn’t cool, because he was naturally curious, communicative, a good listener, humble enough to pay attention to others’ thoughts, and an expert on engaged community behavior on the web.

The pessimist in me wonders: “There’s so much content out there. If I do more, I’m just adding to the noise.” I’ve made a concerted effort to read less lately. This is hard when you’re addicted to information and providing analysis. Therefore, how can I, on one hand, resolve to read less, and on the other, pump out more subpar content? The content has to be good, otherwise, I’m just being hypocritical. And, when you look at the writing produced lately by people such as Dustin Curtis (who is building Svtble), it’s plainly obvious to see just what truly thoughtful, engaging, incisive prose looks like.

Anyway, this is droning on as a blog post about blogging. Boring! The point is — I have to make a change in my writing, and therefore in my thinking. I can’t physically stop writing because that will drive me crazy, but I also have to either scale back the pace or change up the style, the tone, the pace, the length, and the time it takes (this isn’t to say I spend a lot of timing on these, but I want to spend even less). I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on this, as you’ve kindly opted to receive this in your email and probably have read more than one piece I’ve written. And, please, be honest. I can take any and all criticism. I’d also love to know who you regard as great writers. Thanks!

Haywire is written by Semil Shah, and is published under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license. Copyright © 2014 Semil Shah.

“I write this not for the many, but for you; each of us is enough of an audience for the other.”— Epicurus