?

Log in

Writing That Moves People: More Thoughts on Blog Comments - Why Would You Say That? [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
jonathanstray

[ website | Equivocality ]
[ userinfo | livejournal userinfo ]
[ archive | journal archive ]

Writing That Moves People: More Thoughts on Blog Comments [Feb. 20th, 2008|02:49 am]
jonathanstray
[mood |hopefulhopeful]

I've read the comments on my last posting, and first of all thank you all for posting them. Not only did they feed my enormous ego, but they were actually quite insightful.

I think I've been missing a key point about involving the reader: there has to be room in the dialog for them to reply. Long ago I finally realized this in conversation, and now I occasionally actually, you know, listen to people. (Part of this was due to running across a definition that I've long since lost the source for: "truly listening means letting the other person change you.")

But in my writing, there's often no talking back. It's a captive audience; I can say whatever I want and you can't interrupt. I forget sometimes that ultimately the process of communication is about what is going on in the reader's head, not mine. Telling it like it is, according to me, is just a lecture, and no one likes lectures.

Ultimately what I want is to inspire passionate curiosity in my readers. I need to learn to write in such a way that I leave questions, not answers. Because I sure see a lot of questions out here.

Discuss?
linkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: avocado_tom
2008-02-20 05:45 pm (UTC)

As you note, writing seems to very much be a unidirectional communication method. This bears itself out in writing letters too, where the lag time changes the whole nature of the communication. That said, people have been writing letters for years and perhaps those communications end up "more thought out" because of medium.

On the other hand, I find that a lot of times letters are never responded to... This means I have tailored my letter writing towards the "I'm going to write about stuff that I think the recipient will find interesting, but it's got to stand on it's own, all the while allowing for conversational points should they choose to respond"

But writing for an audience is a far different matter as you have to start thinking about who your audience is and what is your goal. Is the goal to inspire discourse? Inspire thought? Provide information? Find out other people's opinions?

I find that picking my audience often effects the information I provide and the thrust of my writing. Hence, it shapes my goals and my content. And maybe sometimes I'm shorting the reader because there's other stuff in my head that COULD be of interest, but which I don't think is applicable. Where does one draw the line? I guess that's where some of the "comments" or feedback you're looking for comes in...

Now when it comes to you, you say:
Ultimately what I want is to inspire passionate curiosity in my readers. I need to learn to write in such a way that I leave questions, not answers. Because I sure see a lot of questions out here.

This is wonderful. I wonder, however, how much this type of writing results in feedback from the readers. Or what the lowest common denominator is with regards to getting people to go off and investigate other sources.

Unfortunately with blogs, I feel like it's fairly hard to get people to go the extra step and seek out additional sources...especially if they don't have any context for the topic at hand. Maybe you could go the extra step and provide sources and/or hyperlinks? This would give your readers an easy way to get the next level of information, perhaps giving them some background and/or piquing their interest? A friend of mine has started doing that with his blog on fatherhood and I know that I've clicked through to many of the sources (although I admit I haven't necessarily read them in-depth, and some of them are just links to cutesy stuff). Links like this, however, have given me the background that I was interested in and have piqued my interest...

Anyway...just some thoughts...

(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: buckminster
2008-02-20 05:52 pm (UTC)
You could write in rhyming couplets, thereby forcing your readers to complete your thoughts. Though some would find that trick enraging, nobody could help eng....
(Reply) (Thread)
From: ninarawkstah
2008-02-20 06:49 pm (UTC)
As I've been privy for years to your conversational style, so I do find that I can interject my thoughts via comments.
In general though, I find certain topics of more interest - regardless of how they're presented.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: rubin110
2008-02-20 07:13 pm (UTC)
I think I've been missing a key point about involving the reader: there has to be room in the dialog for them to reply.

Discuss?


I LIKE TO POO.

Discuss?
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: jstray
2008-02-21 05:39 am (UTC)
Pooing is good. However, poop is often bad. How can this be?
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: rubin110
2008-02-21 05:56 am (UTC)
Might I draw your attention to this article, dubbed 'Poo taboo' slows progress on world sanitation. As you've probably experienced first hand, where does everyone else's shit go?

Studies show that most Americans don't care where their poo goes just as long as long as they don't want to have to deal with it. 98% of adult females from the age of 18-32 have told me up front that they don't want to hear about my shit. Mind blowing, isn't it? Here's another one that'll knock you right off your crap shooting bum, everyone on this planet who's dropped a log has either died or will die.

Yes, I feel engaged in this conversation we're having. My personal online ass-hatness is, how would one say it, validated. Excuse me while I reflect on our discussion here while taking my time on the can.

Also while we're on the subject of ass.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)