Back In The Game

Well folks, it’s all go. Motivation has finally kicked in, and I’m now warming myself up for some epic writing.

As I’ve talked about on here before, I enjoy writing. I’ve written in different styles and to different lengths in my life previously. I guess we all write, otherwise our teachers would be hugely disappointed in us, so me telling you that I like to do something which most humans do might not feel that incredible. But I feel that in the absence of being that strong a “numbers” man, words have always given me greater solace. Don’t get me wrong, I can muddle through equations, probability and sorting some data on an Excel spreadsheet, but I like the flexibility and fluidity of the written word. I also like using ten words when two would have sufficed, something to do with ego/liking the sound of my own voice/delusions of grandeur, but hey, if you don’t like it…

Anyway, what I’m trying to get at is that I find I can only express myself properly when it is fully considered and thought through. Twitter posts and text messages just seem too rushed and end up coming out as if I haven’t really got to the true gist of my original thought. Even emails can be short and quickly typed out to serve a purpose; that’s the downside to the immediacy of the online world.

I’m actually quite guilty of joining in with this trend towards quick and shallow media consumption. In recent years, I haven’t really read that many books. At University, doing a degree in Journalism meant consuming a lot of quick media. A tabloid and a broadsheet every day (and this was in the day of dial up and limited web access), plus reading through and re-writing essays and attending a couple of nights out in the local discotheque each week seemed to take up the majority of my time.

I haven’t really rectified it since either. Nowadays, I get my fix of news and information like everyone else does, a few apps and mobile sites on the daily commute, the odd link to a funny story sent around at work, maybe a quick glance over the shoulder of a Metro reader.

I am however quite “old school” in that I do buy magazines. It’s odd, as by the time I read them, the information has often been superceded, but I like a glossy publication with shiny pictures and carefully designed styles. It takes effort, skill, and a hell of a lot of hard work. I know. I’ve been there.

Interestingly, a magazine that I used to read faithfully (until they started regularly featuring The Prodigy, but that’s another story) Kerrang! is 30 years old today. The big three-oh. Three whole decades of publishing a weekly rock rag. That takes a lot of effort, ideas and commitment to keep it going that long, despite haemorrhaging sales by somewhere close to 50% since its zenith. They back it up with half-decent online content and the resulting advertising revenue, but even so, the printed version still hits W H Smith every Wednesday.

Having so much content online does seem to mean that the written word is sadly losing its authority somewhat. People tend to trust the recommendations of their peers through Facebook or Twitter. Gone are the days of having a favourite writer who you knew would give an honest review of the latest work by your favourite beat combo. I remember when I would almost feel like I knew these people, there was that much of their personality and individual style in their work.

What I think I am trying to get at is that being a writer now is probably 800 times for difficult than it was even ten years ago. Everyone has always been entitled to an opinion, but today, people have so many opportunities to express that opinion to the entire world, despite their level of education or talent. Everyone thinks they’re an amazing author. Case in point – try naming a YouTube video’s comments section that hasn’t ended up in a war of poor grammar and fruity language between two or three intellectually-challenged mouth breathers. And for what end result? Not much, other than being able to say what you like without authority rapping you on your knuckles with a wooden ruler.

So, where does it all go from here? As long as Waterstones and W H Smith are still on the High Street there is hope. The Kindle is getting as popular on the morning train as ignorance and a faint smell of excrement. Words will always be around. The way they’re presented might change, but they’ll always be there and talented writers should still shine through.

I’d just better make sure I’ve got some talent knocking around somewhere then…

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