“It’s time to go inward time to be still
If I don’t do it now I don’t believe I ever will
My mind is like a chatterbox whose noise pollutes the pathways
to my soul.”…Rodney Crowell
For the last few months, I have to say that I’ve been in a slump when it’s come to thinking up ideas to write about. Post such as this and this were built on pretty flimsy premises IMO and felt “forced” to me and even when I had a good idea, I felt the execution left something to be desired. Unfortunately, for the first time since I started writing about search marketing, many of my ideas that have arisen in my consciousness have felt like something I’ve already written about. Even if the people that have read my stuff haven’t seen the original post or even if I could I can give the idea a fresh spin, something about self-plagiarism feels inauthentic and I’ve been trying to resist the urge to do it.
You see, long ago, I gave up blogging in the “traditional way” on search marketing topics because it didn’t feel natural to me nor did it pique my interest. I figured out I had a zany creative streak and if I were to overlay it upon the sorts of material that people find relevant and interesting, maybe people would start paying attention. It’s certainly worked at some level…I feel unconditional acceptance from the community of which I’m proud to be a part of and enough folks seem to want me to contribute to their publications.
Yet, when I was writing another post that you might see soon on a “rival publication”…the sort of post that I used to be able to blow out in 30-60 minutes sounding great…I couldn’t get it to work right for the longest time (and whether it ultimately works I’ll leave for others to decide). It was a pretty basic idea…watching a scene in a random movie triggered an idea that lead me to purchase a “smart” domain worth IMO far more than its registration fee cost no matter if I resold it or developed it.
However, with that particular post as well as some of my other recent ones, I think I’d been getting too clever with the aesthetics of the final product at the expense of the message I wanted to communicate. Cool pictures, super obscure intro quotes…they have, do and will continue to work for me but they shouldn’t be forced…sometimes I need to eschew them when they get in the way of the ideas.
During this writing process, I did have a bit of an epiphany that I will hopefully be able to use for by benefit in the future. Minutiae matters. Too many articles in this industry are written to cover big concepts that are very skimpy on the details. If the person reading the piece doesn’t have previous familiarity with the topic, they aren’t likely to be able to get any good takeaways from something too general…and if they have the familiarity, they still won’t get any takeaways because they already knew what they just read.
By contrast, when someone writes an industry-specific article with a very narrow focus, omitting the general outline in favor of a specified narrative, their story would probably be lost on somebody with no background. However, if the subject matter jives with something the reader has already experienced, it could have allegorical relevance and the reader then can then perhaps overlay it upon their current situation and find the sort of actionable information that can yield tangible results.
Will I evolve out of my slump? Probably. I made commitments to write here and elsewhere and I’m “duty bound” to come up with material that will hopefully pass the muster with the people giving me this platform to write + their audience. Most importantly, I want to insure that everything I publish feels fresh and relevant to me. I take a lot of pride in doing this and I want to give it my best.
Todd Mintz is the Director of Internet Marketing & Information Systems for S.R. Clarke Inc. He also is on the Board of Directors at SEMpdx, runs his own side gigs and tweets quite a bit.