Archive for the ‘writing’ Tag

Virtual writing

My favorite online forum, where I’ve been a member for over a year, yesterday offered me the chance to revise my username.  The original pick I made was not helpful in SEO terms, so I happily decided to take up their offer.  But what to change it to?  My actual business name, Virtual Writing & Communications, seemed too long and difficult for a username.

It was a useful exercise, one that reminded me how useful it is to bravely strip down to essentials.  Rather than padding, setting up fluffy barricades to protect your identity and meaning, the trick is to chisel down to the core and then surface with a simple, naked, unadorned truth.

(If you Twitter often and well, you can appreciate the power of brevity.  If you’re a poet, you know real poetry is stark, not ‘flowery’ at all.)

So my username has become plainly,  ‘virtual writing.’  And of course, I can’t just accept that, but have to consider the precise meaning of those words.  We have fiction and non-fiction writing, we have journalistic, poetic, and prose styles.  And now we have this new form of writing that’s called ‘virtual writing.’

What distinguishes this new form?  We can infer that the ‘virtual’ qualifier at least points to the internet, and probably involves product delivered digitally.  Further, I’d like to suggest that virtual writing is writing tailored to the speed and engagement level of the internet; to the ‘scanning’ behavior of most people when they browse;  to the necessity of SEO; and to a global audience of anyone (as opposed to a much smaller audience of those who choose to purchase your writing.)

So that takes care of the virtual part, but what about the writing part?  The internet is about writing in a very big way, resulting in huge numbers of bloggers and online writers who are trying to get their message out, but are seriously compromised by their sub-standard writing skills.  We plunge into the opportunities of the internet without solid practice in this skill, and many a post includes misspellings, poor grammar and rhetoric, obvious total lack of proofreading, and other written communication failures.

Does it matter?  If most can decipher your meaning even if the writing is terrible, who cares?  I think it really doesn’t matter much at first.  The reader is there for your message, after all, and if it can be gleaned from the morass, fine.  But in the long run, the quality of your writing is a major influence on your reputation.  A reader may get a kick out of your post, but will not remain devoted for long if your writing’s not accurate and rich.

I’m passionate about writing, it’s true.  Words are objects of great beauty to me.  The internet, also, has captured an enormous part of my attention.  So I’m happy with this new moniker: ‘virtual writing’ is me!

P.S.  This blog is moving to, and will no longer appear here after this week.  Please visit my website!

Back at ya, Naomi

Naomi Dunford of IttyBiz tossed out a challenge last week to her readers. She generally addresses small businesses (IttyBiz, get it?) in her posts, and Naomi’s humor and candor make her an instantly lovable daily read. Though often gut-bustingly funny, she also delivers great insights into issues and resources for the small biz scene.

This particular post comments on how easy it is to chat merrily along in your blog, only to realize many of your readers don’t realize what you do for a living. So Naomi listed the following ‘interview’ questions, suggesting we all post clarification. Last Wednesday was National Administrative Professionals Day, so I figure I’ll join the chorus. Here are your queries, Naomi, and thanks for asking!

What’s your game? What do you do?
I help businesses and professionals stay on top of communications and administrative tasks, thereby increasing their time available for planning and growth.

Why do you do it? Do you love it, or do you just have one of those creepy knacks?
I love working hard and turning out a quality product; I love teamwork with enthusiastic people; I love variety and being truly helpful to many people. Mostly, though, I do it because of a creepy knack, which is writing the English language, a fast fading skill.

Who are your customers? What kind of people would need or want what you offer?
Small businesses, web businesses, real estate agents, lawyers, executives, authors, publishers, anyone who’s not too deft with words and needs something written well.

What’s your marketing USP? Why should I buy from you instead of the other losers?
Sigh. Gotta go back to that creepy knack. I’m a writing machine. Input your keywords, and I’ll turn out commanding text. May as well capitalize on it while I can, before it goes completely out of style. Even if you just need me for database work, you’ll appreciate my clear and thorough communications.

What’s next for you? What’s the big plan?
Ummmm. Find some clients? Get better at blogging! Add php programming to services list …


Been wondering about writing versus video these days. Our champion blogger, Darren Rowse of ProBlogger fame is even tempted, suggesting in recent posts that he really likes creating little videos as opposed to writing his thoughts. It’s certainly accessible to the viewer, pandering to our tv tastes and lessening the need for reading and writing accuracy.

I specialize in writing and yet often suspect that writing is simply going out of style. Those who can do it well are rare; those who can’t seldom recognize (or care about) the need for help and go ahead and publish garbled grammar, ridiculous spelling, and pathetic syntax – or they make a video! Why bother with writing? The lack of respect for excellence is writing is clearly reflected in the classified ads, where writing assistance is requested for much less compensation than you’d give your babysitter.

Of course the general demise of poetry over the course of the 20th century foreshadowed this loss of respect. With hip hop being the only well known and appreciated form of poetry in our society, it’s accurate to say the genre’s life is almost done. Since poetry is the ultimate linguistic expression, we can expect other forms of written language will similarly disappear.

I’d like to defend reading and writing, because I was suckled on them and love them both as major supports for my life. But I’m old, and others will bear the standard into the future. Imagine a world where all communications are in video. Would you miss the experience of reading? Would there be things that are inexpressible digitally, that would be lost in a world without writing?

The Start

To share thoughts and conclusions, however temporary, with those who happen by here, I offer the beginning of regular writings.  What right has one such as to me to presume to add my words into the swelling cyber stream? 

So much must be perceived from the opposite side to be understood.  Suppose I did not begin this series of writings … would you have missed me?  Of course not. 

It’s no secret that blogging is a public self disciple, a self-serving activity.  So much like teaching, which is often more like being taught. 

Nonetheless, it is a privilege to journey with witnesses, and to hope my harangues will evolve into dialogue …