I am getting such a kick out of this blog. In my other blog on Yahoo, there’s a lot of fun stuff to do, sure. But this is just a lot more creative. I get to use HTML. I have customizing options. I can change colours and backgrounds and add pages. But most of all… it’s MINE. I OWN it. Not that this is such a big deal, but I don’t like the idea of anyone else owning my words. Billy Bragg and his whole fight with MySpace made me think about it a bit more than I probably would have. Well, that and the Girl with a One Track Mind, who actually published a book of her blogging. Mind you, Billy Bragg is a professional singer, and the Girl with a One Track Mind writes a sex blog, so you know, their appeal is much more lucrative and commercial than anything I write. Still, ownership is important.
I used to see that sort of thing a lot when I was working. As a grunt in a training or tech writing role, you have to learn that you have NO ownership over anything you create. You have to separate yourself from the work. The company you work for owns it. And that’s sometimes hard. You create this stuff and you fight for how it looks and what it contains, and yet, ultimately, you really have no say. You have to let it go. For a lot of people, this is hard. Now mind you, I never thought of technical writing as creative. There’s no creativity or writing skill involvedâ€”just follow the template, adhere to the rules that tell you what to write and how. It’s not like there’s any creative thought involved, because it’s regimented and repetitive. Any dope could do it, if they know the rules. It’s not writing, it’s typing. At least when I created training materials, some creativity and flexibility was involved. Not much, but some. So I never really cared much about what I created in my job, other than for my own personal pride in a job well done.
But now, what I create, I own. I have freedom of content and language and style. I can write what I want and, provided it’s legal, I can post it. I can change colour or look and feel or style to suit my mood or what I am writing about, or for no reason other than because I feel like it. And that’s kind of nice.