As a content creator and blogger, I am inspired by these rules. This is my manifesto for keeping my skills sharp, my mind ready, and my craft useful to those who need content solutions.
1. Create the Best Content Ever
Even if I don’t like the topic, even if I don’t understand the industry, even if I’m lazy, even if I’m better at whining than writing, I will do the job I was hired to do: I will create the best content I am capable of writing. And I will not settle for the bare minimum. I will do the research needed to get up to speed with the topic. I will do the creative exercises needed to get the writing juices flowing. I will lock out distraction. I will create. I was hired because I convinced someone I was the best talent for the project/job/deliverable. Now I will put my muscle where my mouth was.
2. Forge the Path Now, Apologize Later
In the absence of direction, I will create a path. In the absence of an official strategy, I will compose what I think is the best strategy for my company, my client, my customer. In the absence of attention, I will work quietly. And if my self-appointed direction or strategy ends up being wrong, then I can apologize later. At least there was something done. Inaction in a field that I can contribute to is unforgivable. Mistaken action is forgivable. Therefore if I have control over some content deliverable, I will forge ahead and I will create and I will be busy building up the library of content that must flow from my fingertips.
3. Keep Informed and Keep a Reference Folder
I will stay abreast of trends in design and layout, even in technologies and formats that my content will be displayed in. This way, I can suggest features in the white paper PDF when I assign it to my designer, or mention a plugin that will help display the content better to my webmaster, or simply suggest ways that will enhance how my content is consumed by end-users. I will know these things because I will be consuming the content of other producers, other brands, even other industries — not just limiting myself to looking at my competitors but looking further afield to see what is happening in content as a whole. And I will keep a folder of inspirational content (whether in the digital or analog realm) so that I have references, inspiration, and fodder for discussion and debate.
4. Widen the Horizon, Consume Information
I will widen my horizon, open my blinkers, and look further than my current industry or my current niche. I will expand my view to macro, not narrow it to micro. I will know something about everything. Which means I will consume information. I will have a finger on the pulse of: the nation, politics, my target audience, the global business situation, entertainment, culture, lifestyle. And whether I do this via RSS feeds or periodicals delivered to my doorstep, I will do it efficiently and without going to the extreme of information overload and eventual insanity.
5. Maintain Sharp Tools
When I am not working on a deliverable due yesterday, I will maintain the tools I need for my trade. This runs the gamut from sharpened pencils and clean pad paper to defragmented hard drives, crumb-free keyboards, and a zero inbox. This also means a sharpened mind. Not one dulled senseless by too much late night TV, overuse of social media or lousy RSS subscriptions. Maintaining my tools means I am ready at a moment’s notice to get back in the trench and whip up a smart bomb made of words. Because that’s what I was hired to do.
PHOTO CREDITS: Cracked Marble by PareeErica on Flickr.