To Be Ignored Just Do What’s Expected
Writing and speaking (essays, non-fiction, copy writing, direct interactions, speeches) can be easily sorted into two groups:
We don’t remember what most people say when they greet us (at a party, or even a funeral) because it’s banal. Most college essays, tweets and advertising copy fit right into this category. The prose we consume every day gets instantly processed, filed away and ignored.
The other kind of writing is super risky. It is the original, vulnerable work of the edges. This is the interaction that adds real value because it’s not something we could have already guessed you were about to say.
The unexpected doesn’t work because it’s surprising. It works because it’s valuable. Valuable because it brings new truth, because it says something we didn’t already know.
Of course, expected writing is often important. We need to check the boxes, pay the toll, make it clear that we know how to act and speak and write in a situation like this one.
But unexpected writing isn’t merely important, it’s a miracle. If we already knew what we needed to hear from you, we wouldn’t need you to say it.
[Here’s a first step in moving from one to the other: Cross out every sentence that could have been written by someone else, every box check, every predictable reference. Now, insert yourself. Your truth and your version of what happens next.]
(via Seth’s Blog)