I had an editor once who liked to talk about ducks a lot. About how their effortless glide across a pond concealed a whole lot of hard work, churning and strain underneath. That, he told me, is what writing should be like. Good writing.
Readers, he said, do not want to know about how difficult it was to organise a particular interview. They do not want to know how long it took you to find a park, or how you arrived flustered and red-faced only to discover that your interviewee was still in the shower.
What they want, he continued (at length), is a simple, beautifully written profile piece. About the heart of the story – not about you.
I spoke to a very good blogger today, who said something similar about blogging. “I write my blog every day as though it’s the first day that every reader will visit it,” she said. “What do I want them to see?”
Blogging can be hard work. Of that there is no doubt. There’s a lot to consider, a lot going on in the background. Decisions to be made about X, Y and Z. All very important stuff.
But probably not for readers. Who just want to admire the sunshine on your glossy feathers as you sail across the smooth surface of the blogosphere. What shines your particular set of feathers will be different to the blog next door – it might be humour or pathos or advice or raw passion or stunning images or mouth-watering craft.
The churning? Not so much.