Hello lovely students, and do hope you well. A minor inconvenience here – lightning took out the internet router – has given me space to focus over the past ten days, and this is the result. This is a post about evergreen writing: writing that stands the test of time.
Unless you are a news journalist, I can’t think of any writing that doesn’t benefit from a classic version of itself – that is, something that prevails, and that someone, somewhere is always going to get value from.
Perennial Seller by Ryan Holiday investigates this idea in way which inspires, and analyzes what makes creative output last. He emphasizes the piece-by-piece construction of classics, as described in the well-known writing primer Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott.
Work that lasts, he says, usually teaches people, solves problems for them, entertains them, offers, gives and shares with them, something memorable. It is work that should feel only you can create it. It will include the familiar and the recognized, plus the new and novel.
Creating it will often involve deep and complex effort, which will be relentless, repetitive and require lots of revision. But all this may pay off if your resulting writing gains timeless appeal – and with it a financial appreciation which will work like compound interest.
Having turned my mind to this subject, I was delighted to find this writing teacher, Quotidian Writer, on You Tube this week. She’s not prolific, but her videos are deeply researched, with lots of great examples and suggested reading. I’ve watched a couple of them several times, as they hold so much good content – a definite sign they could be on their way to evergreen status.
The leaves are falling off the trees here, so in some way it’s a peculiar time to be talking about creating evergreen writing. But the world at the moment suggests to me that we can’t read too much that is thought-through, researched thoroughly, well developed and painstakingly created.
Go to it, green fingers!