Rather than the empty old one where there was no content, here’s something on how to produce it
An hour ago I saw a question put up by someone in a forum who is a “content navigator”.
I have no idea what the fuck that is, but he asked: Do you approach your writing with a consistent method? I was relieved that he didn’t use that silly word “methodology”.
Others gave their views. Two said they write whenever they have something to say. You may (or may not) be interested in my slightly edited reply, which follows.
I am always looking for things to say.
Louis Pasteur said, “Chance favours only the prepared mind.”
This means constant research. Not just into subjects obviously connected with my likely subjects, but everything I come across on the internet, in the press and in my walks most days – usually about an hour long.
I believe the best writing comes from the putting together of thoughts, facts and ideas which are not always obviously connected, thus introducing an element of surprise. This element of surprise makes things stick in the mind.
The process described in James Webb Young’s “A Technique for Producing Ideas” works for me (and I imagine for everyone).
The book analyses the methods of great creative minds and shows how you can apply them. Like Claude Hopkins’ “Scientific Advertising” it is agreeably brief and remains highly relevant.
I rarely edit anything of any importance less than 8 times – or so one of my old secretaries told me – though I am much more slapdash with quick things like tweets.
I have now been making a living as a writer for 59 years, so for what it is worth the approach I have just described seems to work quite well.
On the matter of editing, I edited this 8 times.
If you are wondering about James Webb Young, he was a creative director at J. Walter Thompson in the early years of the last century – as important to the writing of advertising, I believe, as David Ogilvy.
After his agency career he retired and made a lot of money in mail order. You can see some of his work in “The Hundred Greatest Advertisements”.
Just as good and short as “A Technique for Producing Ideas” is “How to Become an Advertising Man” – a rather odd title as the best creative director his agency had besides him was Helen Resor.
Mind you, she had the advantage of being the boss’s wife.