What Jack Kerouac Can Teach You about Business Blogging
You have to be a little mad to run a business. Not just mad – you have to be a real character, bursting with idiosyncrasies forged by a steely determination. To dare to dream, to create something from nothing, to ignore the naysayers and persevere nonetheless; to embrace the chaos, the hardship, the exuberant highs and pitch-black lows.
Why is it, then, that people so full of personality and vitality, possessing a unique voice and vibrant energy turn into robots when communicating with their customers?
Furthermore, how exactly did I summon up the nerve to mention Jack Kerouac and business blogging in the same sentence?
On The Road
Most of us have heard how Jack Kerouac wrote On the Road. Inspired by the trans-American road trips of his youth, he wrote the entire novel in a three-week burst while under the influence of drugs and caffeine.
To maintain a constant flow of writing, Kerouac taped teletype paper into a single 120-foot roll so that he didn’t have to get up to change the paper in his typewriter. Maintaining this flow enabled him to get into a deep zone. As the words flew onto the page, history was made.
Now, I’m not suggesting that you binge-drink triple espressos, ditch WordPress and source a second-hand Underwood Portable before writing your latest post. But I am suggesting that we can all learn a trick or two from Jack that will make sure that your business blog stands way out from the crowd with a scintillating, authentic voice.
Business Blogging Lessons From Jack Kerouac
On The Road is a free-flowing narrative and thinly-veiled autobiography that sings off the page. This style hit its literary audience squarely in the gut at a time when the bitter embers of McCarthyism were still glowing brightly and smiles were being manufactured at a faster rate than candy-red Cadillac Eldorados.
Kerouac’s novel hit a nerve precisely due to this refusal to kowtow to the status quo. He remained true to his voice and gained a loyal audience of passionate readers who loved him for it.
In a world where large businesses frequently outsource their communications and tightly monitor each tweet, sincerity has been strangled out of each word. For big corporations this is somewhat to be expected. But when you’re growing a business blog, you should embrace the opportunity to be unique, passionate and sincere.
Rather than laboring over every single syllable, let your thoughts pour onto the page. You can always edit it later (in fact, Kerouac edited his novels extensively). But by beginning in a free-form style, you’ll let entertaining lines and opinions bypass those internal filters and spice up your latest post.
Kerouac’s Tips for Better Blog Writing (Revised Version)
Kerouac once collected a list of his 30 essential “secrets” to writing (see – even the masters wrote “Top X” lists.) For the sake of brevity I’ve edited it down to the most relevant points. Here’s the revised version:
- Scribble secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joy
- Be in love with yr life
- Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition
- Write in recollection and amazement for yourself
- Keep track of every day the date emblazoned in yr morning
- Composing wild, undisciplined, pure, coming in from under, crazier the better
- You’re a Genius all the time
If you can these lessons above, and imbue your business blog with elements of each, you will separate yourself from 95% of your competitors, right from the get-go.
Instead of looking at business blogging as a chore, as something you “just have to do”, start using it as a platform to inform, entertain and connect. Creating a successful business is like riding a roller coaster of your own making. Don’t hold back! If the business is brand new, you’ll often find that the people using your products and listening to what you have to say are early-adopters, and as such they’ll embrace your idiosyncrasies with gusto.
Burn, burn, burn
Jack Kerouac was a wildly interesting man who wrote brilliant novels fizzing with bright ideas and quirky insights. If you’ve made it this far, I’m willing to bet that you’re a wildly interesting person bursting with creativity, energy, excitement and potential. Don’t bottle it up. Share it with the world, and soon you’ll know why the only ones for Jack were the mad ones:
“ …the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!’”