I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the kind of writing I enjoy, that I strive for, that I aspire to.
I love writing that sounds like exactly the words you would have chosen if you’d thought of it. Simple and clean. I love it when there’s an underlying coherence to the language — a rhythm, a lilt, a metaphor. Nothing that bashes you over the head, but there if you look for it.
Recently, as NPR cajoled me into wakefulness one morning, I heard an interview with Tina Brown talking about what makes a good columnist and these two quotes jumped out at me:
“Columnists speak in a voice readers understand — their own, but just a bit better.” (Quoting the introduction to Deadline Artists, edited by Jesse Angelo, Errol Louis and John Avlon)
“It’s really about how they think and their ability to empathize in a unique and interpretive way, in a sense, both with their readers and the culture,” Brown says. “You really want to feel that the writer is both absolutely in tune with what’s happening in the culture but also has a kind of counterintuitive response to it.”
This is what I like best about my favorite bloggers’ writing. This is even what I like in those few formally published articles that I’ve enjoyed not only for content but also for style. In fact, this is what I enjoy most in fiction, as well. Basically, this is the kind of writing I love.