I’ve been a working writer more than twice as long as you’ve been on the planet, more than 50 years, and I still feel like a beginner but let me give you one tip that I learned early on when I a young reporter: don’t write from your heart. You don’t have enough heart to spend a lifetime writing from the heart. No one does. Eventually, you run out of heart.

Here’s the advice I got once from an editor who had been in the business more than twice as long as I had been alive. Gather the facts. Let the facts tell the story. Go home. Forget about it. Do it all over again tomorrow.

Before the internet, the average life span of an article was around 24 hours. That’s the average life span of the article, not the story. The story may continue for days, weeks, months, and even years, but each day is a whole new world, and what may have been true on Monday turns out not to be true anymore on Wednesday.

Everyone has perspectives. Perspectives aren’t facts. You have presented some fact-based articles. I respect that. Here’s another fact: there are fewer than 50,000 people who make a full time living as writers in the United States, according to the Department of Commerce, which keeps track of such things. That excludes advertising copywriters, public relations consultants, and marketers. There are 325 million people in the United States. That works out to .015% of the population, but it doesn’t stop there. If you are writing in English, there 1.5 billion English speakers on the planet.

Earning a living as a writer is one of the most difficult ways to earn a living, and it is getting harder all the time. Today, the average life span of an article is around 15 minutes.

There’s used to be a saying in the newspaper business. “Do you know what they do with yesterday’s news? They wrap fish in it.” In today’s world, the words evaporate as they are being read, just like this…..

Alan is a poet, journalist, short story writer, editor, website developer, and political activist. He is the executive editor of BindleSnitch.com.

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