Monday, March 14, 2011

The Connectivity of Writing

by Editing Working Girl

Writing helps bring people together. It really is as simple as that. Whether it is the relationship between the reader and the author, the author and their work or all of the people reading that piece of writing, there is a connection being made.

I am attending SXSW Interactive this year (yes, I do consider myself lucky) and had the chance to watch a panel featuring Tim O'Reilly. If you aren't a techie you may not have heard of him, but he is the founder of O'Reilly Media, which publishes books on various computer technology topics.

When discussing how he got started in the publishing industry, he talked about how it just started as a venture that he did between his consulting projects. He would notice the lack of documentation about certain types of coding, for example, and decide to put out his own, honest materials. If something didn't work as it should, he wasn't afraid to say it in the book. People really took notice when he crashed a conference one year and sold copies of his latest book outside of the conference - he had a book on a topic people were interested in and could connect with, that they couldn't find somewhere else. They wanted more - and he was able to provide it and establish himself in the publishing world.

This is not to say you can't write about something that already has been written about, but make it your own. Make it speak to someone else and you will find a following. As he continued to talk about communities, he said a great three-line slogan to sum up communities, "Harnessing collective intelligence." Are you a blogger? Don't be afraid to utilize the ideas of your readers? Author, maybe? Bounce some ideas off of your editor.

Your community does connect with you via your writing, but also via your ideas within that writing. Find what connects you to them and harness it.