Ben Ward

On Writing

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I've had the pleasure this year of writing once a month for Alex Duloz's The Pastry Box Project. Out of the blue near the end of last year I and some 29 others were invited to contribute to this new site, posting one thought a day. Alex initially pitched it as an ongoing collecting of thoughts; “a long Twitter”, he described.

I, however, have a tendency to write at length, given the chance. The set up for Pastry Box—writing for a presumed audience, trying to be thought provoking or open ended—was a format I haven't really written for publicly before. It proved to be a huge amount of fun, and very gratifying. It was also incredible to have this mandate that I write once a month. With my own site, though it's always here, I rarely write for it. With no one forcing me, this blog can go whole years with only a smattering of entries. Instead, in 2012, I wrote twelve full articles (and off the back of that productivity, more entries on this site, plus a redesign.)

This friendly pressure of a deadline is a very powerful motivator, especially with each publication date already there on the web. What cannot be understated though is the incentive of writing for someone else. Writing for Katy was wonderful. Checking in on my progress with reminders and advance planning, she not only caught my typos, but made sure to check if I was saying what I intended. It's just editing, but what a luxury! When writing for myself the post goes live, and then gets revised live a few times over the following days as I (or just as often, readers) spot the errors.

I'm really proud of the pieces I wrote for Pastry Box. I think some of it is the best writing I've ever done. I cannot thank Alex and Katy enough for giving me the opportunity and support to write alongside illustrious industry peers. That company is only getting more prestigious if you take a glance over the thirty new writers present on the 2013 roster.

If I were to pick my favourite entries, they would be Success and Moments. It was great to be able to put some of these ideas about the very fundamentals of the web out into the world.

The final thing to say—besides reiterating my thanks to Alex and Katy for all their ongoing hard work—is that if anyone were to have read my work over the past twelve months and be interested in having me write for you this coming year, I'm really keen to keep writing these sorts of columns, and keen for someone to be making me do it. If that sounds like a fun opportunity to you, please get in touch.

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