Many beginner fitness professionals (and writers) are attracted to blogging not because they have anything really important to say, but because it seems the easiest way for them to say what they feel is important, but is not at all.
Most of what fitness bloggers write is rubbish. At best, it’s a wretched form of journalese. Most commonly, it’s childish nonsense. Yes, I say this even about the most popular bloggers—as one does not have to write well to write successfully—as there are many prosperous bloggers who write trash, and countless vain bloggers who write bouquets. Really, to fare well at this trade, one just has to work the clichés of the craft.
This is why we are swarmed, again and again and again, with the same dull and banal knowledge, set forth in the same shoddy and loose workmanship—their sentences hanging unlaced, flabby as their necks.
Most of these folks write the same, because most of these folks think the same. And so their work is as fresh as their thoughts are stale. This is to say it all very much reads like a flat soda.
Information: They simply ingest and regurgitate it—rarely do they digest it themselves. And the result is a colossal waste of bandwidth, if you ask me.
I cannot help you to not think like everyone else. It’s on you to discover how to make new connections, relationships, and significances between things. And to be honest, I don’t think anybody can teach it. I think it mostly has to do with your DNA. You either got it, or you don’t. And if you got it, well then welcome to the vast minority— 1% of 1/5 of the American population, I reckon. This sounds kind of cruel, but it’s what I think is true. So maybe this makes me something hard-boiled and unsentimental? Oh well.
What I can do…I mean, what I can try to do, is help you to not SOUND like everyone else. I have a few ideas on voice and style that I’d like to share with you today. Some are my own. Some are borrowed. Borrowed, from writers I greatly admire: Samuel Clemens, E.B White, and William Zinsser to name three whose books at present sit to my right and to my left.
Voice and style are potent devices. With them, you may very well get away with writing the same old shit, because it will be decorated by your charm. It is how you can breathe new life into something dead or dying.
Now when it comes to voice or style, many will say that you ought to write for a particular audience. And many college professors will tell you that’s probably the right thing to do too. In fact, my college writing professor told me just that. He said it was the number one rule.
But I don’t think it is. I think this is what causes most to write in that wretched form of journalese. And I think any attempt to teach writing as a set of rules is as futile and as silly as an attempt to teach someone how to sing out of their butt.
Really, if anything, you should write for yourself. Write what you want to read. Write what you want to talk about. Write what you love.
And I think that last part’s really it. Writing what you love. Because what you love infallibly oozes out anyways, and there’s little good to be had trying to clot it. Instead, put what you love on tap and keep your opinions always ready. [Me, I love opining almost as much as I love hearing others opine, and telling them they’re wrong.]
Now finding your voice, as far as I’m concerned, is no act of finding at all. Rather, it’s an act of unleashing. Your voice is who you are, and style is an echo of personality. Finding your voice is purely the result of self-expression.
Well then Pat, if style is as easy as expressing yourself, then why do many find it so difficult?
Observe the following well: I said finding your voice is as easy as expressing yourself, but never did I say expressing yourself was easy.
However, I believe all the difficultly related to this may be reduced to two arenas: (1) A lack of skill and (2) a lack of balls.
To illustrate the first issue: A man can no more push out who he is through words when he lacks the skill to write than he can through melody when he has no ear for music.
To understand this is to know what it means to say that we ought to first master our tools, and learn to approach the pen as a musician does the piano. This is a convenient analogy, because through our tools—similes, metaphors, antithesis—we string words together, as a musician does notes—through scales, chords, arpeggios.
Any musician—save, of course, the shitty ones—first takes the time to master his craft. And the more the musician hones his tools—his vibrato, his staccato, his smearing—the easier it becomes for his soul to shine through.
This is not a rule mind you, just a suggestion.
And so I'd now like to submit my thesis: Skill is the undying requisite of style.
Let’s now cast a neon light on this point: You cannot express yourself through voice—at least in any manner describable as intelligible—without first acquiring the skill of language. Therefore, how could you ever reasonably expect to showcase your ambiance on the back of the written word without first securing even the slightest grip on the art of writing? This question is purely rhetorical. But you can still try to answer it if you’d like.
Now I said the second difficulty to overcome is a lack of balls. I won’t speak long on this, because there’s not much to say on it. I suspect audacity can be learned, much like anything else, but I’m not the one to teach it. All I can say is that writing bold is like asking out a pretty girl. If you do it, and she says no, you’re humiliated. And that’s no big thing, really. But if you don’t do it, then you’re forever regretful. Now that sucks.
[The other option is if you have a friend who likes the same girl, then you tell him what to say and watch what happens. That’s called being a ghostwriter.]
What you’ll find, as you settle into your own as a writer, is that your style is simply who you are and how you’re feeling on that particular day. And this is why my writing often sounds different—why I sometimes come off thoughtful and other times silly—because mood colors writing.
When you’re in high spirits your words will bounce along as spryly as a ping pong ball. When you’re gloomy, your prose will weep. And if you gotta shit, then it may all read a bit rushed.
Now, in some instances it’s important you temper this. But in most cases, it’s best if you don’t.
Some Major Announcements:
Killing It With Kettlebells Cert Registration Now Open
- We are officially opening up the registration for our next Killing It With Kettlebells Instructor Level Certification. It be will be hosted the two days prior to Strength Fest, May 30th and 31st. [Yes, those who register for our certification will receive a substantial discount to Strength Fest--just be aware that this means you are pretty much living with Som and I for a week at the Dragongym--take that how you will :) ]
This is the ONLY kettlebell certification that focuses entirely on helping you to grow a business around doing what you love, namely large group kettlebell classes/bootcamps. We limit the group to 12 so that each member receives individualized business and marketing attention,and plenty of time to hone their coaching skills on live participants.
This is NOT a beginner kettlebell cert. This is for those who are experienced with kettlebells and want to learn how to run safe, fun, and effective large group kettlebell classes. It's also for those who want to learn the business side of things.
CLICK HERE for more information. Our last certification filled up in less than one month after we opened registration. So if you are serious about attending this event, and learning what it takes to run your own fitness business, or are looking for some strategies to improve an already existing fitness business (or even if you just want to become the best possible coach you can be), then you must not hesitate to register for this event!
Here's what a few of our instructors had to say about the last event:
- Speaking of Strength Fest 2013, CLICK HERE to get your tickets now! The next early bird discount ends 4/1/2013.
- I've received many questions regarding the book deal I mentioned last week. I can't say much now, but promise to release more info when possible. I can mention, however, that it will be released through Wiley and will have a Paleo Fitness flavor to it. More to come soon.