As part of my ongoing project to write every day here on this blog, I’ve been thinking about the sorts of things I should be writing about. And while “things I do and stuff I find interesting” is a fairly broad and forgiving brief for what you might like to think of as an online op-ed column, there is the small matter of readership to consider when what you’re essentially doing is just thinking out loud in a public forum.
But it seems to me that there are three main ways of writing in public, and the one that I’ve ended up selecting recently is not really the one that I wanted this blog to be about, so this is probably a good moment to recalibrate.
The three modes, as I see it, are:
1) Writing as catharsis;
2) Writing as credentials;
3) Writing as communication.
These three modes don’t necessarily describe the effect of the writing on the reader (what goes on in your head is entirely your business), but rather the intention of the writer to some extent or another.
When I started this blog – and in particular when I started New Music Strategies, I did have some ‘writing as credentials’ motivation. My intention was to demonstrate that I had something to contribute, and the fact that I took that approach has been very useful to me in my career and has led to some fascinating adventures and encounters, for which I’m very grateful.
That said, the more I got to know the people who read that stuff, the more the whole point of writing it became an attempt to be both helpful and interesting. Those were the two most common (and gratifying) pieces of feedback I was getting on New Music Strategies, regardless of whatever my self-interested intent may have been, and over time those became the two things I most admire and aspire to in the context of blogging: helpful and interesting.
And it’s at that point, that it becomes writing as communication: Let me tell you something you might find helpful. Let me show you something interesting.
I suspect for most readers, this blog been neither of those things recently. I make no apologies for that on the basis that it’s been helpful and interesting to me. Sometimes writing as catharsis is a useful thing to do.
But we now return you to your regularly scheduled programme. I’ll attempt to say things that are helpful (at least to some people, in small ways) and interesting (likewise). I’m limited with respect to the extent to which I can do those things given that I only have my own daily experience and reflection to draw on – but I’m going to take it as a challenge.
If you want my credentials, read my bio. If I want catharsis, I’ll put it in my journal. I certainly don’t guarantee to know what’s going to be helpful and interesting to you personally, but we’re switching back to the communication mode of intention now. Let’s see how that goes.