Jason Kottke on Design, Writing, Blogging

Movable Type (the blog software I use) is plugging a series of interviews with high-profile bloggers who use their product and the interview with Jason Kottke is worth a read. I’ve followed Kottke’s blog for a while and enjoy the undefinable nature of his collection of content.

I enjoy his simple-yet-functional design (check out this riff on too much meta; interestingly enough, I had a terrible time finding the link for the MT interview with Kottke thanks to poorly designed metadata) and would love to do my reviews the way he does his books and movies. I might actually get around to doing them if that were the case.

Here are a few of the money quotes from the interview …


On Writing:

“If you want to be successful at anything these days, you need to know how to write.”

Impact of Tools on Creativity:

“In his writing and teachings, John Maeda stresses the importance of tools on the outcome of creative work, arguing that the tool often has more to do with the final product than the creator does.”

Shrinking Attention Spans:

“I’ve also lost the ability to write anything longer than 4-5 paragraphs…I just chuckle whenever someone suggests I should write a book.”

This comment resonates with me. I yearn to write a nonfiction book, but the short attention span, both of readers and writers, makes that seem like a fool’s errand.

Bloggers as Editors:

“I’m much more interested in the editorial/curatorial aspect of blogging than writing. At a party a few years ago, Nick Denton told me that he thought the natural upgrade path for bloggers looking to work in traditional media was not to writer (of books, magazine articles or newspaper pieces) but to editor.”

This is why I think any aspiring editor should be blogging. And any writer worth anything needs editing skills, so they better be blogging, too (as if the writing itself weren’t a good reason).

Why do you blog?

“Curiosity? Habit? Addiction? Don’t want to get a real job? Probably all of the above. Is it a good thing when you can’t tell the difference between work, play, an addiction, or a hobby?”

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