The Internet is becoming writer-friendly again

Image by Francesco Pozzi

I’ve started writing again. It’s something I’ve wanted to do more for a long time, but there was something about the distribution methods available that I found wrong or weak or something. It was hard to put my finger on it.

All I knew was that I enjoyed writing in a journal-like bloggy form. It was personal and rambling, a way of getting my thoughts down so I could see them and refine them. Putting your words out there for others to read is a great forcing function to polish your thinking regardless of one’s skill as a writer.

The best platform for the kind of writing I enjoyed doing in the past was my blog on my personal domain. Writing there was useful to me, but it became useless to others as social platforms took over.

Medium here has solved a lot of the problems that arose when the old way of publishing started to lose its luster. They’ve cracked the code to some of the reader engagement issues independent blogging had. And the size of its readership is palpable as a writer, making it less like shouting into a void.

Facebook is improving the way it handles longer form publishing, perhaps learning from some of the nice things that Google+ did.

I’m publishing via The Guardian as the first port of call at the moment. It’s hugely helpful having an editor to chuck ideas back at you before you publish. And with a clear editorial focus I have the constraints I need to produce something more useful than the work I was doing for my own benefit.

Of course, having a community of editors collectively working with you would be awesome. That’s something we’ll make possible with (plug: signup for updates from the team here).

As a former active blogger I do hope and can easily imagine a day when independent loosely connected writers form powerful communities and publishing networks. It won’t look the way it did, of course. But I think it would be a good thing to have federated publishing models where people have total control of what they publish, where they publish it, and how they make money, if any.

The Creative Commons licensing model is brilliant and can be used to create contracts between writers that make the business of working independently but also collectively totally possible and potentially very fruitful.

Meantime, I’m very pleased that there are more platforms recognizing that quality writing, photography and video matters to people. I hope I can contribute to that through an article here and there and via in the future.