|New Media Expo / Blogworld|
I've always been a straightforward blogger. Controversy is not something I generally explore on my blog, nor am I usually interested in taking part in discussions where people have their minds irrevocably made up. Yet much of the advice about writing interesting and useful content for readers centers around taking risks, thinking in black and white, and evoking emotion. This is a new way of thinking for me.
For the most part, the advice is good. I know that from switching myself from the writer to the reader, and imagining the kind of posts I like to read. The suggestions are to open up, put yourself out on the web, take a stance, have an opinion, and be sure to surprise or even shock the reader. I don't particularly like anything too emotional or shocking, but I do like the unexpected, surprises, something new, and something that makes me think in ways I haven't before.
So this is my first and most important lesson to take away from the conference. To take risks with the blog content and voice, and not to shy away from expressing and eliciting emotion. It's a new spin for me, but I'm going to start moving my posts in that direction. One might ask why I'd do something like that if it makes me uncomfortable. My response is that - as I look back on many of my previous posts - they seem distant, watered down, and even overly clinical. My voice on the page is dry, and I see that I'm not doing a good job of sharing why I think something is important. After all, the reader's time (mine and yours) is limited. What I offer has to be something worth reading more than doing pretty much anything else, at least for the amount of time it takes to read. I can see good content and solid information in my posts, but for someone who writes a lot of fiction, I do not represent my storytelling style in the blog itself.
It's time to tell the stories here. Not the fiction, but the part of our world and culture that intersects with it. What is the emotion behind the movies and books we all love? What are the really compelling messages in our genres, and why do they hook us for hours on end? What is so entertaining or Earth-shaking? What makes us as a community feel strongly, and what are we willing to stand up for and promote/protect? What is unique about our culture, and how do we fit into it?
And before I do any of that, I need to step back myself and answer those questions from my own personal perspective. I love to write about all aspects of speculative culture. But why? What really grips me and keeps me focused? What is just so darned important that I feel I have to write about it in a post or I'll feel I missed out? What makes me feel like I will simply bust if I don't share it? Time to really dig, and come up with content that makes both reader and writer feel like there is nothing else in the world they would rather be doing than be right here on the blog.
For your typical overly-analytical geek, sci-fi writer, this sounds like a daunting challenge. But I know there is a lot of great stuff to be had by trying. So, this post is in the style of my 'old' voice, let's see how I can do with shifting into the storyteller ...
Image Credit: New Media Expo 2013, Las Vegas