Each week, Evan Peterson rounds up stories from across the Web that scribes of all stripes should check out.
Jargon is a verbal keycard to any organizational club. But it's not just for large corporations. Writers have their own jargon, too, and sometimes it can be just as unclear.
Also, the future of Byliner
, writers we should envy, providing answers to articles’ problems, and more.
Writing workshop jargon:
Writing workshops are traditionally for fiction writers—but some forms of workshopping also happen in journalism classes, blogger meetups, and the yearly tour of content marketing conferences. It's because writers are endlessly interested in what other scribes are writing about and how they approach their work. It's all very relaxed, friendly and non-corporate, that is, except for one thing: the jargon. Or rather, the passed-down terms that count as acceptable criticism of nearly good work. Phrases like, "Find your own voice," and "Show, don't tell." You might know of a few others. Amy Klein breaks them down in this piece for The New York Times
What's next for Byliner?:
When I began writing this column a few years ago, one of the first stories I highlighted was about the launch of a new long-form journalism site called Byliner
. It quickly built a solid library of Byliner
originals, including some by some famous authors like Jon Krakauer. It's still a place to find great, historical magazine content. But a memo to employees this week reveals that it needs a new partner in order to save it. I hope it finds what it needs and survives.
Which writer do you envy?:
We all read things we wished we'd written, but is there a writer who consistently makes you feel this way? It's a fun exercise: Which writer in history would you trade places with if given the chance? The New York Times
had two writers offer up their answers and reasons. As Zoe Heller points out, you would have to take the good with the bad, which likely cancels out alcoholics, anyone who committed suicide and those who weren't recognized in their lifetime. Heller and fellow contributor Daniel Mendolsohn agree that time enhances the attractiveness of any writing life, or as Mendolsohn puts it, "The only people worth envying are the dead." Find out which dead writers they picked.
If you're an editor, this is one to add to whatever in-house handbook and style guide you're working with: Articles should offer solutions. Nieman Lab writes about new research that proves the effectiveness of at least suggesting a possible solution to problems presented in an article or blog post. The Engaging News Project found increased sharing and loyalty among readers for articles that offered a potential cure to the problem it was covering. Not really a shocking find, but certainly something worth adding to your editorial checklist.
Writers should love people:
And a reminder that while it's good to be alone and get work done, writers need to step away from the desk, stay curious, and love the people around them. That's the advice Rupert Thompson offered in The Atlantic
's “By Heart” series this week:
You need the time alone or otherwise nothing can ever get done, but at the same time, you need people in your life in order to grow. Though the demands of friends and family can be difficult to balance with one’s work, I’ve learned that choosing love over solitude can be important for the artist.
Evan Peterson is a writer based in Chicago, and the editor of OpenMarkets magazine at CME Group. He's on Twitter at @evanmpeterson.