Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Medium and message

The medium is the message, but the message fuels the medium.

To me, that’s the essence of effective communication (with, of course, a hat tip to Marshall McLuhan).

It’s also essential to how we absorb ideas that are communicated to us — online, in print, on television, person-to-person or what have you.

Yes, we have more options than ever before for finding and assimilating information. That’s a good thing.

And yes, content must be tailored to the medium. There’s a reason tweets are 140 characters and blog posts are, in theory, limitless.

But no medium can ever replace relevant messaging. Nor can messaging exist without a medium to convey it.

By all means, use every medium possible to reach your audience. But if the message isn’t meaningful, just don’t expect it to hit the target.

 

 

The power of saying no

There are plenty of reasons to say no in life. Some of them are much more important than the reason I said no last week.

Or maybe not.

I decided to drop out of the National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) challenge. I just said no to blogging every single day. I’m going back to my schedule of three days a week. (In my previous post‎, I was already debating this.)

Skipping my first day wasn’t easy. I am not a person who backs out of a commitment, even to myself. Which is why my saying no to this is more important than it might seem.

I struggled a bit against letting that first day go by. But once it did, I felt unshackled. I felt lighter.

Even more important, the writing I’ve done since has just flowed out of me. I’m inspired, I’m having fun, I’m writing things I feel good about.

Saying no is liberating.

The power of saying no

This is not a new idea. We all know that saying no is a way of expressing our freedom, our independence. It’s a way of asserting ourselves. I’m just not always very good at it.

I don’t say no easily. I take on everything that interests me — and everything I’m asked to do — and damn the consequences. But that’s not always a healthy decision for anyone, especially myself.

Saying no is empowering.

Instead of being forced to write something every day, just for the sake of writing something, I have the luxury of taking my time. I can write the terrible first draft and come back to it later and edit it so it’s not terrible anymore. I can let things incubate. I can polish and play. I can have fun. I can express myself clearly and creatively.

It’s not just a writing lesson, though. It’s a life lesson.

As I was pondering dropping out of NaBloPoMo, one of my biggest clients called with a rush assignment on a project I’m the exclusive writer on. I said I didn’t think I could pull it off. I didn’t want to overpromise and underdeliver. Could she find another writer to handle one part of the crisis while I helped with another? She agreed that was a good strategy.

There’s a time I would have said yes to the entire project. But instead, I found the voice to say no. It was the right thing to say for everyone involved.

Can we say no to everything in life? No, and we shouldn’t. Sometimes we say yes because it’s polite, or it’s business, or it’s just the thing to do. Saying yes can also open unexpected doors, even if we’ve been standing there pulling against the doorknob trying to keep it shut.

But should we say no to some things? Yes. And I’m getting pretty good at it, if I do say so myself.

To quit or not to quit

I have never been a quitter. In fact, go ahead and tell me I can’t do something. I’ll just be that much more likely to do it.

But National Blog Posting Month is killing me. It’s not writing the posts themselves. It’s fitting them in with everything else. I’m super-busy at work, the holidays are approaching way too fast, and other opportunities I don’t want to pass up are presenting themselves. Not to mention the normal stuff of daily life. Writing a blog post every single day is falling down the list of priorities — and fast.

Even more to the point, though, is the fact that I don’t want to crank out blog posts simply out of a sense of obligation. I want them to be outstanding. I want them to be pieces I enjoy writing and other people want to read.

I haven’t decided for sure yet, but I may let National Blog Posting Month go by without me.

I love the idea and adore the discipline. But there may not be room in my life to do it well enough to make it satisfying.

Maybe if I try being less of a perfectionist, I can pull it off. I’m keeping this post short and not worrying about links and photos and such.

If I do decide to give up the daily blog grind, I’ll still keep blogging on a regular schedule. Just one that makes more sense. One that means never having to say, “I’m sorry. That blog post wasn’t my best work.”

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