The Two Kinds of Writers, The One I Am Right Now, And The One I’m Aspiring To Be
Recently I read a decent article by Darius Foroux called Arthur Schopenhauer: There Are Only Two Kinds Of Writers. Which talked about the Arthur Schopenhauer idea of two writers.
There are above all two kinds of writers: those who write for the sake of what they have to say and those who write for the sake of writing. The former have had ideas or experiences which seem to them worth communicating; the latter need money and that is why they write — for money.
If you hang out on Twitter or medium often, you probably notice more of the second writer. Publish a lot but seems to be a rehash of what somebody else says earlier. In some areas of twitter, it has only devolved into many buzzwords strung together as a tweet. Not meaning anything if you take 5 seconds to think about it.
This is not to say I’m not guilty. I tend to publish on a regular basis so many of the articles I have published frankly may not be my best work. But I do try to write about an interesting idea I found out or something that I learnt.
Build a business, not an audience. Touches on the same idea. That people should do interesting stuff with their lives then write about. Rather than “remixing” what other people have done. Doing interesting stuff leads to interesting content. It’s a pretty simple equation.
But to continue on the content treadmill. You have cut corners. But this leads to less than stellar content. As mentioned earlier bit twitter can descend into buzzwords.
We forget but one of the main goals of creating content is delivering value. Just tweeting for the sake of tweeting brings value to no one.
An insightful tweet from a unique observation of the world is very helpful for everybody. As Schopenhauer says former have had ideas or experiences which seem to them worth communicating.
Writing for money and writing to say something interesting are not separate activities. Lots of people can be both pretty well. But it can be easy to fall into the writing for money. In this case, writing for more followers or prestige.
If your content does help your reader, why are your writing in the first place?
Maybe you tweet or blog to use it as a journal. That’s great. As explaining how you area dealing with the problem at hand. Shows your thought process. And maybe useful for people in a similar situation.
This is different from manufacturing platitudes.
What is an audience anyway?
I think Alex Hillman (via farez) has the best definition:
“An audience is a group of people with common goals and interests, that you can study and most importantly SERVE”. People in your audience look forward to learning from you, and to engage with you, and for you to engage with them too. Building an audience can benefit you as an individual and benefit your SaaS business.
What we confuse an audience with is followership:
Followership: This is when you’re purely focused on the number of people who are following you. If your goal is to have more Twitter followers today than you had yesterday, then you’re building followership, not an audience. If you intend to build a business with and learn from those who follow you, then building followership is the least effective way.
Who are we serving?
This question can help us see the forest for the trees.
Like the journaling section above you don’t need to consciously think about serving your audience. If you are writing about how you made your latest project and what you learnt. The reader will find something very useful from the blog post. As you likely take about your unique angle for tacking the project and produced some new ideas after finishing the project.
Why I’m writing this?
Likely as a reminder for myself. To make sure every blog post I create has some type of value for the reader. To make sure I don’t write about useless feel-goods on Twitter or elsewhere for that matter.