Being a good writer, a good communicator, is a skill. Being able to form sentences and paragraphs, structure a topic so it flows well and makes sense are not the only skills required to being a good writer. Neither are good grammar or spelling, although they are generally the first things people notice and so, whether you like it or not, they can reflect on what you are trying to say.
No, being a good writer is finding a voice, a resonance with your audience. It’s something few blogs manage well, with even the most popular blogs being popular largely for their content than they way it’s written. Of course you can’t separate the content from the writing, but each has an effect and a pull on each other, and we humans have a tendency to level out the stuff we don’t like and balance it against the stuff we do. If the content is great and is what we are looking for we’ll stumble past the badly formed prose, likewise if the content is eloquent we’ll suffer the subject even if it’s not completely to our tastes.
The reason I mention this is that, as I’m still working back through my archives – on which there is a second question, to delete or not to delete – I find that my writing style has changed quite dramatically, and is far more an indication of who I am than I previously realised. Similarly, having been looking at old versions of this site, the sites I visited back then all stand out as having the same mixture of both a distinct voice and superior content.
And so, as I continue to ponder the whys, wherefores, and whatnots of this site, I wonder what my voice is, what it is about the way I write that makes people visit, or is it more about the content than the voice? A quick skim through the past couple of months and it’s easy to see the posts that have attracted the most comments, but harder to see if that collates with the posts that attracted the most views (for I have no way to tell that, yet…).
I always find looking back both educational and entertaining and, in keeping with my current “site mood”, I’m also thinking back to when I joined my current company. Almost six years ago it was, and there are only four people left from those days (technically there are a few more as, since then, we’ve merged with a sister company) soon to be three. Today is her last day and it’ll be odd for her not to be there on nights out, or at the end of a silly flirting IM trail, no longer will I have a late night accomplice for post party heart-to-hearts and foot massages. Time stands still and all that.