Popping kernels: how long does good writing take?


In the age of print, lengthy articles gave readers the feeling that they got their money’s worth.  Writing was planting a seed that bore fruit, but only after investing a certain amount of time, emphasizing quality over quantity.

140 characters revolutionized the idea that content has to be lengthy.  If print is fruit from a seed, short real-time content is popcorn from kernels.  This style does not have to be at the cost of quality, but takes the philosophy that if you put that much out there, some of it is bound to be good.

Fishing for a sunburn: the guaranteed outcomes of taking action

How satisfying is it when you set out to accomplish something, strive for it and get it, all in a nicely packaged crescendo to climax?  For most of us living in the real world, these sorts of single-play successes are not the norm.  Instead, we have to work at it with patience and persistence, and the payoff may not come with a rest, but with a call to more work.

I went on my first deep sea fishing trip yesterday and spent eight hours on the water.  That’s eight hours of casting out, reeling in.  We didn’t come back with a fish, but guess what I did come back with?   A nice red sunburn with white raccoon eyes where I had sunglasses on.  Yes, I should have put on sunblock, I even had it with me.

A fisherman will tell you that sometimes you come back with a fish, sometimes you don’t, that’s why it’s called “fishing” not “catching.”  A blogger will tell you sometimes you hit linkback gold, sometimes not.  On the other hand, take a moment to think through the guaranteed outcomes of your work.  Will you build up experience, wisdom, a work philosophy and ethic?  As a blogger, every post you write is another post you can point to for an employer or as a writing sample.  We don’t all need to reach a huge audience or instigate global change.  Those are the “nice-to-haves.”

How do you make use of the incidental, guaranteed outcomes of your work?  Or does reaching a certain goal makes it worthwhile?