Writers are married to a system and a process that’s extinct in most cases. Writing itself doesn’t need to respect old formats—but writers have been taught to write a certain way, and are now challenged to separate form and function. Thinking about writing’s function is a new idea for most writers, who by nature of their art, are traditionalists.
The freedoms of content development
According to Scott Abel, “Writers need to get over it.” Scott is a writer among writers—a charismatic and self-proclaimed Content Wrangler who’s created the Web’s liveliest online writing community. (Find it at thecontentwrangler.com.) He spends his time jet-setting from conference to conference, discussing how to improve content development today. Scott touches more writers in a week than most editors or marketing managers do in a decade.
Scott’s revelation: “Freedom of information, freedom of speech, and freedom of press have all become the same freedom.”
Content is still king, but developing in another kingdom
For Gutenberg and those who used his press to communicate, the reader was invisible and the writer, or author, was lord of the page. Even before Gutenberg, illuminated manuscripts still gave power to the wielder of the pen, which created phrases in our lexicon like, “the power of the pen” or “the pen is mightier than the sword.”
Here at the dawn of 2010, the page doesn’t exist like before and even its ghost is up for grabs. So what happens to all that latent power?
It’s bleeding into form, when it should empower function. Writers are imprisoning themselves in a static, long-form, narrative content development that has more to do with the medium that delivered (past tense) content than the message.
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