I find myself oscillating between writing things that I assume will be popular with those in my network and things that I’m really passionate about but that won’t necessarily land with the majority of people who will come across my blog post. Henrik Karlsson has some counterintuitive advice for bloggers about that particular decision.
When writing in public, there is a common idea that you should make it accessible. This is a left over from mass media. Words addressed to a large and diverse set of people need to be simple and clear and free of jargon. It is valuable to write clearly of course, to a degree. Clear writing is clear thinking. But to make the content accessible? To cut digressions and obscure references to reduce the number of things people need to understand to make sense of your argument? Really?
His belief is that, no matter how niche, someone is going to relate to your work and the more niche, the more they might relate. In other words, amid an ocean of thoughts on the web, make sure yours stand out.
You write to find your tribe; you write so they will know what kind of fascinating things they should route to your inbox. If you follow common wisdom, you will cut exactly the things that will help you find these people. It is like the time someone told the composer Morton Feldman he should write for “the man in the street”. Feldman went over and looked out the window, and who did he see? Jackson Pollock.
Needless to say, if you’re writing for Jackson Pollock, you’re not writing for everyone.
via Austin Kleon