I was reading an obit of the great New York newsman Jimmy Breslin, who died yesterday, and a quote jumped right off the page that I wanted to share. Because it’s about blogging, sort of.
His readers and reputation were clearly that of the everyday working man, and not the hoity toity elites. How did he make his curmudgeonly pieces spring to life?
Before one gets to writing styles – no one needed a dictionary to read a Breslin piece, he being the antithesis of George Will — one needs to address motivation.
As in motivation for writing the piece to begin with. The quote:
Asked in a 2012 interview what he aimed for as a journalist, Breslin replied, “To please a reader: me.”
“I didn’t care about anybody else,” Breslin said. “If I thought it was humorous, if it made me smile, I put it in. I wrote it in the paper and didn’t care what anyone thought.”
I note this because, while no one would ever confuse me with being Breslin, it reflects my own motivation to write this blog for the past 10 years.
With no publisher (and obviously no editor) I write whatever the hell I want. Which is usually on the personal injury law, but I’ve obviously taken a very expansive view of what that subject entails and feel free to get sidetracked if I like.
Writers gotta write. And you can only do it if you have a zest for the subject, be it law, running, or ponies.
If you write for others, instead of yourself, your work will probably suck. That’s what happens when a writer doesn’t have an interest or a passion in the subject. People that write for Google algorithms will always turn out crap.
It’s a pretty good lesson for bloggers. Write what feels good and what feels right. Then hit the send key and go about your day.
If others like it, great, and if not, well, nothing lost there since you weren’t writing it for them.