Mark Bernstein: Writing for the Living Web

In talking about Mary’s data loss, Mark Bernstein referenced an earlier post(2002) he’d done on alistapart on writing for the living web–this is still an inspiring and useful read.
Summary version (read the whole post–it’s waay better):

  • Write for a reason: “Whether your daily updates concern your work life, your hobbies, or your innermost feelings, write passionately about things that matter.”
  • Write often: ” You need not write constantly, and you need not write long, but you must write often.”
  • Write tight: “Omit unneccessary words.”
  • Make good friends: “ your web writing take special care to acknowledge the good work and good ideas of other writers. “
  • Find good enemies: “The best enemy, in fact, is often a friend, a writer you cite frequently and who often cites you, but with whom you disagree on a specific questions.”
  • Let the story unfold: “Understand the storyteller?s art and use the technique of narrative to shape the emerging structure of your living site.”
  • Stand up, speak out: “Try, if you can, to avoid inflicting unnecessary pain and humiliation on those who have the misfortune to be mistaken.”
  • Be sexy: “The more of yourself you put into your writing, the more human and engaging your work will be.”
  • Use your archives: “Always provide a permanent location (a ?permalink?) where each item can be found.”
  • Relax: “Don’t worry about the size of your audience. If you write with energy and wit about things that matter, your audience will find you.”

All still true now.