More craft, less crap

In Wampeters Foma & Granfalloons (1974), the always playful, original and somewhat cranky, Kurt Vonnegut, says of the ‘writing trades’: ‘They allow mediocre people who are patient and industrious to revise their stupidity, to edit themselves into something like intelligence.’

Now, I’m not calling everyone in the blogosphere mediocre but let’s be honest. There’s a lot of self-indulgent, poorly-written prose out here. It should be easy to avoid. Like television, all we have to do is tune out and turn off. But yes, I admit it: I am fascinated, enthralled and somewhat click-addicted so I spend longer here than I probably should.

Case in point: this past week there was a spew-fest about the social media news release and its relevance and/or need. OK, that sounds like a useful discussion for someone in PR. But what started with an idea soon deteriorated into self-justification, posturing, and energizer bunny writing (it just kept going and going). I tried to follow it, but eventually gave up and immediately regretted the time I could have otherwise spent reading, thinking or just plain talking to someone the old fashioned way.

It’s hard to write well. Most people can’t. The craft requires intelligence, creativity, commitment, practice, discipline, honesty and time. I say slow down: revise, edit, reflect (repeat).

Come to think of it, a touch of sparkle and style wouldn’t hurt a wit (sic). Get off that high horse and put ‘da mock’ into social media democracy.



Advice to a neophyte blogger

When I was gearing up to start my blog, one of the first things I did was tell people about it, so there could be no turning back (and to build a modicum of awareness the old-fashioned way).

PRWork’s David Jones offered a pre-launch tip: “I’d suggest you start leaving some comments on other PR blogs and podcasts and get your name known prior to launching your blog. It will help build readership. There are several good Canadian PR bloggers that are building a little community.”

And I thought since there’s so much information out there, soliciting advice from those in the know might help shed a bit of light on what to me felt like a swirling vortex of words. So I contacted bloggers – some I knew and some I just enjoyed reading – and asked them to provide a piece of advice to someone about to enter the fray. I told them that I would be including their answers in my blog. Most replied, though a few didn’t (but you won’t find that list here).

Here’s some food for blog:

Repman Steve Cody suggests: “…, there are quite a few things to keep in mind. The two most important are objectivity and continuity. Don’t start the blog unless you can devote the time to constantly refresh it. And never use it to sell yourself or your services.”

The Hubbub’s Giovanni Rodriguez said: “Best advice I can give you: Pick a general blog topic that you truly care about, and make that your personal brand. That will motivate you to write often, and to write passionately, the two things that make a very good blog.”

Guy Kawasaki’s How to Change the World blog referred me to a post from last April, ‘The 120 Day Wonder: How to Evangelize a Blog’. Though this is nearly a year old, it’s a good read and the links are helpful, too.

And me? Well, I’ve tried to immerse myself by reading blogs regularly (sometimes too regularly) and checking out people who’s names pop up independently on various sites. I also click on links, subscribe to least one or two new RSS feeds a week and, if, after a while, I find myself wondering why I added a particular site in the first place, I delete it.

But I still feel adrift, especially when I’m ten links deep or more and wonder how in the world did I ever get to this place?


Blogging policy

Well, I’m breaking my one post per week notion already, but I do want to list my blogging policy.

I’m going to:

  1. Be honest and up-front and as creative, entertaining and insightful as I can.
  2. Always identify myself in each blogosphere post or comment.
  3. Use my best judgment before publishing/commenting by asking myself if it’s really worth it.
  4. Conserve my words (there’s way too much pollution, idea and otherwise out there already).


Welcome to MyPalette

Hello out there. Welcome to MyPalette.

This is an experiment – though not experimental – so long-term I’m not sure how it will turn out. Will I be here in a few months? A year? I don’t know.

The bigger question is: will you? And, if so, who are you?

I have a love-hate relationship with the blogosphere. As a PR guy, writer (books, comedy, TV, films, journalism) and wannabe raconteur, I instinctively feel that this is the place to be. I’ve been dazzled by some of the bloggers I’ve started to follow, their style of writing, flashes of ideas, quirky originality, immediacy of response.

It’s exciting and boring, transcendent and commonplace and it has so much ‘stuff’ (as Chuck Barris might say) floating around in every nook and cranny, so many tidbits of byte-sized use-(full/less)ness all coming at me at the same moment in time that it makes my head swim. Gong.

OK then. I want to be connected and participate in the conversation. There’s an entropic magical, who-knows-what’s-going-to-happen-but-it-feels like-something-big-is-just-around-the-corner kind of energy here. And, for someone who likes to write and socialize, that’s hard to resist.

So what’s this blog about?

To help me shape this project and feel more at home, I’m going to attempt to sketch out MyPalette:

  • 1 post per week (to start)
  • 500 words or less
  • Quirky and personal
  • Focus on ideas and trends
  • A signature sign-off (see below)
  • AND I reserve the right to revise, edit and try to make it better. (Breaking the rule? Maybe, but this is my rule.)