Sunday, September 9, 2007

Writing for the Web

Even after a year and a half, sometimes I am still struck by the differences between news and web content writing. I remember in one of my early journalism classes a professor was commenting with absolute glee about the leads in the NYT. They were so complex, the words so entwined together that you never noticed that the whole first paragraph was one sentence. It was all put together so skillfully that it never seemed too long or disjointed. And I agreed.

I spent the next few years striving for that level of intricacy, trying to weave thoughts and ideas together seamlessly into the whole without any part of it becoming awkward. And then I became a web writer. The pieces that people are looking to purchase online are made up of short, choppy sentences with only one main idea. Many times as I proof my web articles I have to cut my sentences in half to make them more suited to web writing. And that's fine- you have to write to the market, setting your own skills to the task at hand. I would like to find clients who are more interested in the way a work is crafted than how many keywords are in it. I have been fortunate enough to find that kind of work here and there, scattered across the web like spiders scurrying into the corners. I continue to chase down those spiders, asking them if I might be allowed to spin a web for them that will be to their liking.

No comments: