I thought it was one of my better posts ever on Huffington, A Great Debate About Ideas, because it covered something really important — the battle of free vs. not — and tied Chris Anderson, Malcolm Gladwell, Seth Godin, and Ellen Goodman together.
But it wasn’t, it turns out, because of a dull deadline. Maybe I should have called it “The Battle of Free vs. Not.” Hmm, no, see, I’m not that good at headlines. “Naked idea orgy?”
- Delete it
- Start over
- Make it a list of 10
- Make it a list of 5
- Insult somebody famous
- Find a way to add one or more of the words “naked, brutal, violent, sexy, stripped, revealed, angry, face-off” … or something like that.
- Blame it on the readers, the editors, or anybody else you can think of.
- Take a walk, and think about a single sentence that would make you want to read the rest of the post.
- Go browse a blog reader like Google reader set to show just headlines.
- Go back to point 1 and go right down this list again.
True story: when I was young, working with UPI in Mexico City — we’re talking about early 1970s, so seriously, a long time ago — the system we used to report Mexico news to New York Editors showed them the first sentence only; from that, they had to decide whether or not they wanted to see the whole first paragraph. And, with that, they had to decide again (push a button) whether they wanted to see the rest of the story. So I should be able to do this.
And something else, that I’ve learned, in a lot of years writing: there are many different varieties of writing. Being good at one doesn’t mean you’re good at another. I used to think I was a good writer, but copy writers amaze me. And in newspapers, reporters don’t write the headlines. And writing and creative fiction plots are totally different skills.