The unsurprisingly recurrent theme in San Francisco this past weekend, at least within my circle, was writing.
Walking around and associating with a gaggle of writers, it's hardly surprising that we ultimately ended up chatting about our respective workflows, or what platform we've built our blogs on. But what was surprising was the number of us there. I associated with a core group of six writers or so, but I encountered, and heard of, countless others.
While that may not be interesting in and of itself, what is striking is that relatively few of these writers were a part of a larger writing staff. Obviously there were several notable exceptions but, for the most part, the majority of writers I encountered were self-published and wholly independent.
"Blogging," both as a job and as a hobby, has evidently broken into mainstream consciousness. With Wordpress and Tumblr taking mere moments to set up, writers are equipped with the means for broadcasting their content in an intuitively basic manner.
The increase in blogging has arguably also given rise to the following of individual writers, as opposed to whole teams. When M.G. Siegler was still with Techcrunch on a full-time basis, for instance, many chose to follow his personal blog as a means for interacting with the content they most identified with.
The Internet favors the indie writers and self publishers. The tools and the opportunities have never been more available. All it takes is the determination to work your butt off and the willingness to take big scary risks.
Internet users all over the world are consistently choosing to latch onto a handful of their favorite writers, and to enjoy their content based upon opinion, commentary and reflection, rather than rigid fact and press releases. Although objective news is clearly here to stay, the evident trend toward the independent creative is an entirely welcome thing.
It's clearly not easy, but writers like Shawn and authors like Brett Kelly represent the viability of independent publishing, and that's no small feat.
Check out Stephen Hackett's full interview with Shawn Blanc at 512 Pixels.