If one studies the habits of great writers, the methods and outcomes are as different as the people themselves.

If I’m seeking excellence — something that stands out in the fierce competition of the Medium platform — only something that has inspired in me a strong emotion will do.

I was a newswriter for so many years that I can ably write about almost anything. “Give me six (column) inches on the school board decision,” or “I need 12 inches on the new police department policy,” or even, “society editor is out today, write me ten inches on the Junior League’s fall fundraiser (Ugh).” Those commands have been heard by any professional newspaper reporter/writer. I could do those command pieces every day without much effort. One does an adequate job, keeps it professional, and lets it go.

But the kind of writing that wins press awards, gets published in magazines — or gets curated on Medium — requires that I be strongly inspired by raw emotion.

That kind of writing comes when it comes and can’t be forced. It comes more often when I, at least partially, engage with the world. Those pieces are the only kind I really want to produce although I can force myself to turn out copy every day.

To be frank, there’s a lot of fluff in Medium, which is absolutely fine because it is what so many want to read. People make good money providing prolific and professionally written fluff pieces.

But I cant. Not if I want my writing to be worth a shit. Believe me I’ve tried it. I’ve banged out pieces on this and that, trying my damnedest to make money on Medium. It never works. The pieces produced get a h0-hum response; as they should in my opinion. That kind of work isn’t my strength.

I only write my best when I’m In the throes if a feeling so strong I can’t not write about it.

I’m with you. My body and brain resist commands like “write every day”. My mantra is to write when I have something to say.

Thanks for sharing this. I totally agree. I love your style.

Former print journalist, former mayor, retired law enforcement officer. Writing about politics and government along with random personal essays.

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