On Good Writing and Self Promotion

And not cocktails really, but what you gonna do, I'm feeling all nostalgic and I miss holidays. Let's imagine I was writing blog things while drinking said cocktail, which isn't even unlikely. 

Time is precious. 

It's a concept we're familiar with. At least, a concept we're familiar with in reference to our own time. 

I'd suggest that it's one of the things of which we are most acutely aware. I certainly know when I have enough time, or when the amount of time left in the day doesn't match up with how many tasks are yet to be complete. 

I wonder though, whether we ever consider our impact on the time of other people. We know when it directly affects us and our ego; when people don't have time for us, don't make time for us, or on the rare occasions when we actually notice that they are gracious enough to make time. Do we ever consciously evaluate the impact of ourselves and our actions on the time of other people? 

I used to listen to a podcast which will remain unnamed because I have since become quite angry with them, blog post on that soon; but they made an excellent point in one of their early episodes. Our time is precious; and other people's time is precious too. When we ask someone to read something, or advertise to them, we are eating into their time. Sometimes we give them a choice, sometimes we do not. Sometimes we just enable endless scrolling through the internet, rather  than actively enforcing it. 

Their point was about advertising, I think - they chose not to advertise on their website and part of the reason for that was that they viewed it as insulting and demanding to dare to put information in the faces of people with such force that they had to spend their time reading it. 

This had me thinking, along with a couple of other things, about self promotion. Largely self promotion on the internet - self promotion on twitter - self promotion of writing, journalism, blog posts, reviews, anything which takes time for your target audience to consume. 

Self promotion is necessary for online success. Being confident in your own work, especially when that work is online, and therefore promoting it online, is vital. 

Emma Gannon talks a lot about it, in terms of retweeting compliments and being forthcoming about the work which you have done and which you are proud of. She is not only tolerant of it, but encourages it, which is a refreshing view. The thing is with Emma Gannon, is that she writes some seriously good stuff. 

Surely, if we are going to promote our work; which is, to get it retweeted onto every timeline possible, or schedule a tweet for it to be posted again every hour; we owe it to those who we are asking to read our work, or consume it in whatever way its medium requires, to produce something worth spending time on. 

Surely we owe our readership a new idea, or a new way of thinking about something, or a new style of writing, or even just a glimpse of ourselves. I'm not for a minute suggesting that everything that's written on a blog should be akin to Shakespeare, or in fact anyone else who writes best selling novels; i'm merely asking that we write well, that we write like ourselves, and that we don't become clones of each other. This can be applied in so many different ways; from taking the time to proof read and make sure there aren't any spelling or grammatical mistakes in your work, or making sure that the content you're writing hasn't already been covered 4608 times on the internet, to being as concise and to the point as possible, if that's your style. There really isn't any need to write 1000 words if you're only got 700 to really say. 

If we had as high an opinion of other people's time and the demands on it as we do on our own, perhaps we wouldn't incessantly promote the same ideas, the same voice, even, and the same reviews of the same products, shops, lipsticks, films, whatever, which are all over the internet. I have no doubt that part of the issue, particularly in the realm of beauty blogging, is that there is an apparent formula and a strange need to fit in and be the same as everyone else, which I'm sure results in people who could be presenting new ideas and world views to the internet limiting themselves due to lack of confidence. 

Think about who you're promoting your work to. Consider their time to be as important as yours, and watch how the work you produce changes.