I just perused the LinkedIn profiles of candidates in the U.S. presidential race. Interesting exercise. I know ghostwriters were responsible, but the differences in style are still interesting:
Barack Obama writes his summary in the first person, in the tone of business letter to a trusted friend or colleague. It gives the impression that he wrote it himself. Under specialties, he uses full sentences, each with a dependent clause, covering three issues.
Hillary Clinton's summary is also in the first person but has a certain generic quality that somehow does not feel as if she herself wrote it. She includes no specialties section.
John McCain's begins with "Welcome to the official John McCain profile" followed up by a quote (in quotation marks" from the candidate. The quote consists of familiar talking points. He has posted a recommendation for Sarah Palin. Specialties listed are unadorned phrases. ("Straight talk, politics, history.")
Sarah Palin's page has no introductory sentence, but also uses quotation marks around the candidate's statement." She has posted a recommendation for John McCain. Among her specialties- "attacking good old boy networks."
The profiles give the impressions that Obama's campaign is comfortable in the online world, Clinton's doesn't quite get it, and McCain/Palin's seems to communicate in a manner more typical for television than for online.
Oh - and Bill Clinton was inaccessible - not in my network!
The July 2008 issue of The Sun Magazine features an interview with Wendell Berry, a poet and farmer who (to vastly oversimply the matter) writes about environmentalism, farming, and economics on the human scale.
One of the topics he addresses in the article - "making it" as a writer. My favorite takeaways:
Accept that you can make a good life without being a writer at all.
Practice is essential.
If you don't take pleasure in writing - despite the frustrations - go ahead and quit!
Real reading is a kind of work.
Every writer must work out for him/herself how to make a living, if supplementing writing income is necessary. (Despite his acclaim, he says that he has always needed a third source of income besides writing and farming.)
Reducing costs makes life more complex, not simpler.
I have begun private lessons with Susan Griffin. She's known for a hybrid form that juxtaposes personal reflection with social commentary. Her first pieces of advice: Set aside my years of interviews, false starts, and notes. Make a list of elements. "Start with sentences, and listen for the music in them."