Monday, 10 January 2011

The Enemy of Text

I’ve spoken to a number of people (with opinions and ideas that I value) and canvassed opinion within online music forums about the CGPW project and one of the issues which frequently came up was the quantity of text that I seem to use. It seemed to matter far more that people actually had less! The quantity of it seemed far more of an issue than the quality or what was to my mind, the ‘value’ which I could offer within the core CGPW manual!

I’ve started a new paragraph here, and started using different fonts and other such formatting changes in direct response to some of the suggestions that have been made about this. I'm not going to get this right first time, but if I experiment, I'll find something that works...

I have always written a lot, and within the core manual for the CGPW I wanted to offer a lot. I didn’t want to short-change anyone and offer as much as I could possibly get out with the latest revision of the project. It has been ongoing for so long and I’ve become so close to it that I’ve gone through phases of wanting it to be the greatest guitar publication ever, and yet I’ve learned that with every new revision that’s an impossible task.

I guess sizes and colours matter…

Content is one thing. Presentation is quite another, and for a long time, I've disproportionately looked at only one of these things thinking (naively) that the content can carry it... Not true.

In a broader sense, and in directly relating this experience to the ideas and suggestions within the CGPW project, I’ve taken all of this on board and looked at radically changing everything I’m presenting to the world!

I’m looking at style, fonts, formatting, colours, the lot, because ultimately, if more than one person is telling me the same thing, then there is an issue to be addressed. Ironically wordy as this blog post may be, this brings me to my key point, which is the flexibility and willingness to adapt and evolve. It follows the principle that there is no such thing as failure, only feedback. There are only actually ‘results’ of our actions. Failure and success are labels which we place on our results afterwards but ultimately they are ‘results’.

If the results I’m getting is actually “less people are going to read what I’m trying to get across purely because of the way in which it’s presented”, then I can’t help feeling that a measure of ‘failure’ has to be attributed to my results.

Is this a bad thing? I would have once thought so, but not any more. Now I look upon it as a new starting point and an opportunity to improve, evolve, adapt, update, progress, and ultimately succeed.

Ironically wordy as this post may be! Expect some more colours, diagrams, pictures and videos from now on rather than my usual pages of words!


  1. When I've been writing blog entries I've always tried to break up the text with images which are at least vaguely relevant. They can emphasise points and smooth the flow of the information. I tend to alternate left- and right- aligning to the top of every second paragraph or so. Worth a try?


  2. Size matters(!) Too big and it looks like you have nothing to say (like the kid who hands in a page in font 26 and has probably only written their name and the title) but too small and it makes people shy away because they might be challenged to think... fpr what it's worth, I quite like the white on black as it stands out from the norm, and the blue and purple look good as well. Red on black is a little trippy...
    I feel a little guilty responding in this way, as I do read your blog and do like the challenge that it provides, and do actually take it into "real life" but have never actually communicated that on here, for which I can only apologise.
    Rather than watering things down and making them "Guitar Hero Friendly", might it be worth breaking a normal sized blog into chaptered sections, perhaps posted over the course of a month? You could of course still write it as one stream of consciousness elsewhere, but just deliver it in smaller morsels. This could have the effect of not only giving people time to digest your thoughts and respond to them, but also keep the blog regularly updated (with little extra work for you) and at the front of people's minds (and inboxes!).
    Finally (in and ironically wordy response!), have you considered linking the CGPW Facebook and Youtube pages to those of TDF? I understand if you want/need to keep them separate but I wonder if this might open things up to a whole new audience? In both directions...

    Noo X (This is only anonymous because I can't remember my password...)

  3. Hi Nik - I like the font used in the second paragraph (beginning 'I’ve started a new paragraph here,...'), please use this as it is very easy to read! Thanks, Phil

  4. Thanks,

    I noticed that, but it seems to go against all the research I've done which suggests that it shouldn't be!!

    I'm going to be following the feedback here though....

    Thanks again