If you’re so smart, think of your own damn title

Many people today assume that if you can do anything at all, then by golly you must be able to write. Heck, it isn’t brain surgery or software engineering, or whatever you do for a day job. Surely you can knock out a few blog entries per week (or per day if you suffer from blogorrhea, a condition that afflicts even some legitimate professional writers). Easy-peasy, right?

Here is some writing that people actually got paid for on one website:

“The nature of our business means we have a dearth of external resources who states we can not accurately predict at all times meaning we have to code with that in mind (ie. defensively).”

“If you’ve been recruiting developers for a few years, you’ll agree to this stat that referrals is still the most powerful way to recruit developers.”

“Below, I identify the ways in which software development today is far more different than ever before.”

Each of these writers was allegedly paid $150 to “impact the market with higher-value blog content.” Surprisingly, the publishers have a copyeditor on staff, or so they recently told a bevy of wannabe developers and budding bloggers at an elite, cutting-edge coding academy.

I learned about this scandalous website from one of those coders-in-training (who happens to be my latest in a series of unfortunate husbands). One of his foundational principles is that it’s the really hard stuff in life that is most worth doing. Applying this principle to writing, the people behind the disgraceful site cited above could have urged the audience of self-doubting learners to view blogging as a difficult and rewarding challenge, one that anyone can master eventually—unlike coding, of course, which only those with the coding gift can do. In fact, the application to become a blogger specifies, “No prior blogging experience required. DevOps and/or Coding knowledge is.”

Ah, if only it were that simple. Even some of us who have a reputation for being pretty good at writing find that it’s an incredibly difficult chore, even after decades of practice. And if you want to remain good at it, I don’t think it ever gets easy. Choosing the right words and making sure they fit together in a way that’s both enlightening and entertaining, rather than misleading or annoying, takes a lot of work. That’s probably why I do less and less of it as life gets shorter and shorter.

But don’t just take my word for it. The eminent Sir Harold Evans, according to an NPR interview, complains that “the Internet makes it easy to write now, ‘and that’s why you get so much garbage.'”

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2 thoughts on “If you’re so smart, think of your own damn title

  1. Hi my name is Chris. And I work for Fixate IO who owns and operates sweetcode.io the posts you reference here. Good feedback and we always welcome it. It would have been nice to speak to you directly about your concerns before posting. Becasue you were not apart of the initial introduction I would have been happy to re-introduce the site specifically to you. We continue to see the benefits of the site in helping our contributors create a personal brand and share what they know. And I also stand by our copyediting which has received few complaints from clients. But I also understand your POV that quality of writing in general has diminished in the internet age.

    • Thanks for your thoughts, Chris. Lucky for you, my blog has an audience of approximately 0.5. In fact, no one would have been able to find this post without your comment that adds your name and that of your company. Let me know if you’d like me to delete the comment!

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