Things I don’t want to write about in 2015

Ostentorial: The resolutions of a Cult MTL writer.

King-Louie-the-jungle-book-15106556-736-533 (600x435)My resolution in 2015 is to be a more discerning writer. When I started writing specifically for web a few years back, I wanted to game the system, to easily attract Facebook likes and retweets on Twitter without actually saying much. It can be done, but why bother? The articles I peddled with reflexive sharing in mind were sometimes lousy and usually forgettable.

There are plenty of grooves an underpaid, overworked writer can settle into. This year I want to avoid them. I want to stick to the original plan of covering interesting Montrealers and the things they do, and if it means not producing any viral content in 2015, so be it. I always preferred a hearty handshake anyway.

Readers seem to dig restaurant articles, which is why new restaurants have become adept at generating hype. I’m down to eat, but I’ll continue to avoid overhyped, carefully orchestrated 5 à 7 launches. I’ll review restaurants in 2015 during regular business hours with friends. And there’s enough new resto-hype out there: let me know about family-owned holes-in-the-wall that have been holding it down for a decade or two.

Montreal’s subreddit can sometimes feel like a microcosm of the city. It’s bilingual, with occasional language tensions, and people are always complaining about public services and infrastructure. It’s also where those with easily digestible stories go because they’re looking to be found. A first UberX experience or a shaky cam video of an angry city employee might turn a few heads and stoke some familiar flames, but more often than not it’s just boring people with smartphones.

Unless it’s wholly charitable, I’m not going to write about any crowdfunding campaigns in 2015. There are more than enough finished projects out there worth covering. Plus, there’s no guarantee if you reach your funding goals that you’ll actually finish the job, and I don’t want to be the one who told readers to invest their money foolishly. Same goes for start-ups with unfinished products.

Few of my takes in 2015 will be hot ones. If I have nothing to add concerning a particular subject, then I’m not going to pile on just to seem relevant or to retain social media clout. I wrote about Rob Ford once…for this very publication. It was a cheap attempt at getting likes and favs with a tenuous local hook, and I think it even worked. A pyrrhic victory.

A year or two ago, there was a mad dash to be the first publication to write about Montreal’s first cat café. It hadn’t even opened yet – it was just a gleam on a crowdfunding page’s eye – and yet it was damn near impossible to resist the urge to run a “CAT CAFÉ COMING DEFCON ONE” breaking newsflash. The café has been open for a while now and I’ve yet to set foot in it. Why was I so worked up about it in the first place?

I’m going to save the pillorying for those who truly deserve it. Late last year, a Canadian music journalist was viciously mocked online for offering consulting services to bands for money. It was a foolhardy idea, but the level of vitriol spewed at him by complete strangers unaware of his circumstances was undeserved. I’ll gently roast a “Mon père est riche” or “Heineken, Tequila” overnight meme-type, but they’re not politicians or TransCanada execs who are truly fucking up the planet.

Finally, I’m not averse to listicle making, but I don’t approve of jury rigging regular articles into lists because “five cubanos you need to eat right fucking now” is more shareable among your friends. This article, for instance, could have been a list.

A very ostentatious New Year to you all. ■