Nearly six years ago I began writing on the internet. It’s been a near-daily event ever since. I love writing on the internet.
Recently I’ve been reading through old archives from stuff I wrote in 2005, 2006, and 2007. It is amazing how different my writing is now compared to then. But sadly, it’s not all different in a good way.
In some ways it is better: My writing voice has matured significantly, and I feel comfortable in it. In fact almost everything I write — emails to my team, proposals for new projects, updates to my family — are written in the very same voice you read here. Secondly, my grammar and spelling have improved about 1,000% compared to my early stuff. (I am a pretty bad speller even now, but I used to be really bad. I mean, seriously. Really bad.)
But in other ways I see where my writing has declined over the years. My words are not as “free” and “light” as they used to be. Chances are most people would never notice (a few of the long time and savvy readers perhaps), but to me it’s like night and day.
And sadly I know exactly where that tone of freedom in my writing went. It slowly disappeared as my readership grew. I remember how I used to write as if 5,000 were reading even though there were only 75. But since I knew those 75 and considered them friends I was comfortable being in my own skin in front of them.
Well now that I actually do have 5,000 readers the freedom that was once in my writing seems to have been replaced with something more professional and scrutiny-proof. What an unfair trade and a bum deal for all of us.
Being excellent is one of the most important things in life. But excellence and professionalism are NOT synonyms. I miss that bounce of freedom — that extra bit of genuineness which I feel is now missing. And perhaps you do too. And perhaps I’m not the only one?