Writing is being
You don’t write a good text. A good text happens. Like a vortex, where whirling currents of informational fields meet, drawing words, meanings and concepts from seemingly distant areas of knowledge.
Writing is endless building
It comes into being long before it has been written down and continues to live long after the last word. What we write is only a small part of the whole process of creating new forms of relationships. Writing we enrich and multiply them, trying to capture what we remember we’ve felt when the idea for a text struck.
Writing is connecting
It matters whom you talk about your ideas with, what you read, where you discuss your topics of interest. All these networks of perspectives constantly form visible and invisible, or rather, conscious and unconscious relationships in your writing mind (h/t Mani Saint-Victor of Mindful360 for the unconscious process through which we communicate).
The richer in common relationships (analogies, metaphors ,practical examples) the text the broader its span, the bigger the house it is inviting its readers to stay in, and the more enticing the labyrinth garden it has in store for them to stroll in.
Writing is not per se
The brave new text is crafted simultaneously with the connections it is a result of or it creates. It is an open network of meanings, to an extent, it is an open narrative, seeking and ready to connect and interact, bringing change to the world.
Writing is magic (and a bit of code)
Metaphorically speaking, the brave new text is a rotating mass of known and unknown relations which we have in our mind and outside it [Let’s call the latter exonous, h/t David Amerland for the idea that the Web is like a second brain].
It is a combination of associations, parallels, knowledge, intuition. When we write we tap into the potential of various “containers” of relations, searching for them, processing and synthesizing them “with elaborate care” and respect.
Fortunately, the Web becomes more and more capable of mapping, representing and understanding with increasing accuracy many of these galaxies of meanings, represented by language and signs.
For that to happen though the text needs code and needs not shy away from it. Code is what it is, just a tool. HTML and structured data are yet another language which enriches the forms of representations of the things in the world.
Asking the magic to step aside for a moment, literally speaking, an excerpt of the brave new text, in it’s most simplified form, looks like this [there is no structured data markup schemas here]:
It’s only when text marries the idea of being tagged, marked up and properly presented to search engines to be recognized and understood, that it will become truly brand new and start living the life it was meant to live – forever entering an indefinite number of relations that are easily traceable (and hence useful and valuable).
In other, less passionate words, machine-readable data models of things and objects, what structured data actually is about, make texts relationship-extraction-friendly, which is vital for them in the age of the semantic search.
[Here, I deliberately skip the subject: Explicit Markup to Semantically Express Poetic Forms ]
A metaphor to take away
Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue
Metaphors are powerful vessels for transporting meaning through time and mind space. The one that looks most suitable for describing how the brave new text looks like is a traditional rhyme about brides.
Imagine the text that was about to marry the idea of structured data is the bride. For it and the idea of the growing connectivity to live happily ever after, the rhyme would go:
Nothing starts from us. We all stand on the shoulders of giants and the understanding of this is interwoven in good texts. Such texts also care about linking and mentioning their sources and inspirations.
New would go for the new dots connected, even the ones that connect the text itself with machine understanding. The brave new text would embrace not only the connections and relations it is used to having (i.e. metaphors and analogies) but also the relationships it would further form with other forms of readers (devices, sensors etc).
Any text needs something that does not belong to it. Be it citations, concepts, ideas from other texts, sparks found somewhere by chance. Borrowing, we acknowledge and enrich.
These days hyperlinks are not only blue, they appear in various colours. However, for the sake of the metaphor, and because I love blue, let “something blue” be the links a texts has. The more relevant edges (that is relationships, that is links) a text provides for relating to, the broader it’s reach and the more its opportunities to connect.
Speaking about love, last but not least, all of the above would also need what we all need. Love.
Love is what is felt in every word when you mean it. It is this love that is the opposite of fear of missed deadlines, low ROI, failure to present “figures” of engagement, failure of rejection etc. It is the love and patience for the vortex to whirl and show up.
Above all, it is the love and devotion to the reader, to the person on the other side of the text whom you are having dialogues with.