Are You Team Tabloid or Team Proust?

Slowly, the year is coming to an end and I cannot help looking back to search for my achievements. Scraping here guys, hang on…

A retired journalist gave me this funny little tip to become more productive:

Read! Read anything and everything and most of all, things you usually wouldn’t chose. At all. Ever.

So, I may have read a few local newspapers, those free ad-heavy ones, a few women’s magazines and even, shivers, a Bild Zeitung here and there. Tabloids are written in a really strange way and it is interesting how many question marks you can place on one page. Let’s not digress.

Are you team tabloid or team Proust?

I’m not sure what psychological idea really hides here. It seems a lot easier to look at structure and language when you are not involved in the topic. Like beekeeping or cooking up a storm. Maybe you just (re)connect things in your brain, that are usually not linked. I would never volunteer to pick up a soccer magazine or one about trains. Some of the texts are so bad, that you get this I-can-do-this-better-feeling.

Whatever the magic behind this writing tip is, I offered my newly found insight to my writing friend, who just brushed me off with something like

If you want your writing to improve, rather read Proust.

Are you on Team Tabloid or Team Proust? bekitschig blog
Crickets …

What do you think works? Are you on Team Tabloid or Team Proust?

Do you have other tips to share?

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7 thoughts on “Are You Team Tabloid or Team Proust?

  1. I only know “Bild” by reputation – and it’s a bad one. The first tabloid I read, and one of the few I’ve read, was one of the Elvis-in-a-UFO type with the headline “OIL FOUND ON MOON”. Someone else bought it because it was _so_ ludicrous.

  2. I believe to be a good writer you have to read widely and often to absorb techniques and inspiration. Tabloids (esp UK) are generally hate-stirring muck and can go do one, but that said you still have to remind yourself sometimes just how bad they are and see what lousy tricks they’re up to next.
    We are lucky that It’s never been easier to read now with digital technology added to physical books, newspapers and journals.

    1. Maybe an either or question wasn’t very smart. It is about variety! I noticed for myself that I am mostly reading in English and I really would like to change that …

  3. I don’t really understand your question…. I’m writing because ‘I must’…. Never asked if it is any good, got told countless times how good it is – but IF you want a comment, I’d rather go for Proust anyway – only could we have – let me think – well, another writer but Proust?! There are too many I really, really dig. Most of them are women 🙂

    1. There really are a few people who can deal with language much better than others.
      The question was really, what kind of tricks help you through tough writing times & get you motivated.

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