For a special weekend post, this will be something a little different.
Earlier this month, I was “tagged” in another blog post in something called a “blog hop”. It’s basically a common-themed post that runs like a chain letter from blog to blog. The topic is on writing. (I’m grateful to Jennifer Romig on her Listen Like a Lawyer blog for her kind words on her post referring to me as a great writer and a “nice guy” too.)
In the 1000+ blog posts I’ve done, I haven’t touched on myself or been introspective before, so it’s a unique opportunity to break from convention.
What am I working on?
Well, naturally, I’m working on this, the Connecticut Employment Law Blog. I started it back in 2007 for a few reasons. First, I was reading other blogs at the time and thought “I could do that!”. Back in college in the, ahem, early 1990s, I worked many long hours as a reporter and editor for my college newspaper, The Daily Pennsylvanian. Many of my friends from that newspaper worked in the media industry while a few others became lawyers. I’ve always thought there was a lot of overlap between the two.
And I thought it would be fun to be a newspaper columnist too — like the ones who work for The New York Times too. A blog afforded me an opportunity to do so.
A blog also could fulfill another desire which was to write. Many times I would send an e-mail to colleagues or clients with a new case. The blog was a way of expanding the audience.
Which leads to another reason — to raise my visibility and get people to focus on employment law issues in Connecticut. Until my blog, there really wasn’t a single publication that focused on the issue on an every day basis. The blog was a means of doing so.
So, I continue to work on sharing news and noteworthy items in the Connecticut employment law area and to help employers in doing so. Many years later, I still view it as a win-win.
How does my writing differ from others of its genre?
For too long, law firm newsletters and blogs were basically case summaries filled with citations, footnotes and dry commentary. Many law firm blogs remain that way today. (And seriously, do lawyers really think that clients read footnotes in blog posts?!)
I do what I think Jennifer describes on her blog too — to have the ”the kind of writing that informs and entertains lawyers and other legal professionals”. I’m proud to mix, for example, pop culture with a legal case. My World Cup posts recently are a good example of that. I think its one of the things that sets me apart.
I have also tried to answer the following question in every blog post: Why is this important to employers? If I couldn’t answer the question, I typically didn’t write about it – at least in this space.
Why do I write what I write?
Honestly, I’m not quite sure. Writing to me is somewhat therapeutic. Sometimes, I just have an inspiration and writing allows me to express that inspiration and “close” the thought. Otherwise, those thoughts just keep percolating.
I really do enjoy the subject too. Sometimes, I write because I want others to have that seem feeling of either outrage or surprise I’ve felt. Sometimes, I want to educate others. I write mainly because I enjoy it and I’ve continued because enough of you say that you enjoy reading it too.
With some personal matters, I’ve also started another online journal. Perhaps in a post later this year, I’ll let the two areas cross, but for now, I like keeping business and personal separate.
How does my process work?
When I first started, I used Google Reader to keep track of stories I found interesting. More recently, Twitter is my go to source. I’ll typically “favorite” something so I can come back to it later. I may also review just released cases or go through the Connecticut General Assembly website to track legislation.
Most of the time the post comes easily. I’ve probably had some time in my head to figure out what I want to say so by the time I write, it’s just a matter of typing quickly enough to express the thought. I like to write first and then go back to the top and do some editing. Sometimes, I’ll let the post sit for a day or two — other times, I’m just eager to get it out.
My process probably works more like a journalist. I learned about how to craft a “lede” that grabs a reader. I learned about writing pithy headlines. And mostly, I learned to write in a more conversation style — much like a columnist for an op-ed piece does. My early posts were struggles through that but I think (and hope) that I’ve gotten better in time.
Please check out my blogging friends:
For the next leg of this blog hop, if they are so inclined, I’m highlighting three blogs, all by lawyers. These won’t come as a surprise to readers of the blog as I’ve long admired them, but here are a few:
- Jon Hyman, of the Ohio Employer’s Law Blog, remains a rock. While my schedule has dropped off, he writes every business day. And he’s consistently zigging while others zag. I’ve had the pleasure of breaking bread with him and he’s just a great person as well.
- Robin Shea, of the Employment & Labor Insider, typically only writes once a week. But if you’re not reading it, you’re missing out. I love her sense of humor and wit.
- Kenneth Adams, of Adams on Contract Drafting, takes a different approach. But I really appreciate the craft and care he takes into explaining contract provisions. You might not think there is a lot to writing a good contract but once you start reading his blog (and, better still, his book), you’ll start freaking out over all the issues your current contracts may have.