Everybody thinks they can write. That is a source of annoyance to serious writers. Writers have invested time and thought into perfecting a craft and formulating an idea of what quality writing is. Imagine how they feel about celebrity publishing deals, hordes of the most clueless beginners who think that putting words on paper makes them a writer and now, bloggers. Portland’s Willamette Week recent things we hate issue noted that "I write for a blog" is a pathetic pickup line. A crazy person babbling at you on the bus is a public speaker but not necessarily an orator.
Technological shortcuts displace skilled craftspeople. This is usually accompanied by a drop in quality as the operators of the new tools get up to speed. If you buy an expensive tool you probably have to compensate by paying less for presumably less skilled labor. If blogging is effectively free where's the percentage in paying a really good writer? The answer is of course, quality. Some writers are more talented or more practiced. Some have special access to subjects.
I wonder if our traditional notions of quality can be linked to the technologies and economics of the day? Was so and so a great writer because circumstances combined to make them a focus of an economic and technological thrust to disseminate the ideas? Marketability is a huge concern if your production costs are high. How important was simple availability in raising certain figures into the pantheon of great artists? Surely there is such as thing as Quality that is not subjective?
I think quality has at its core deliberation. You need to focus your energies on doing something well. It might be possible to create quality accidentally and if we make enough stuff we might arrive at quality that way. At a certain level of mastery quality can be achieved effortlessly but that is because - through practice - the master has become saturated with the skill. Doing becomes natural.
Blogging has great cultural potential. It has become cheap for an individual to reach a wide audience. How do we spread a desire to do nothing but Quality? Teach it to the kids.
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