• Scott Herring

Turning Japanese: Shokunin for Bloggers

Part 1 of a 4 Part Series

Have you ever seen the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi? It's a breathtaking biopic of a (now) world-renowned restaurateur who has 10-seat, 3-Michelin-star sushi bar in Tokyo. When I saw the film a few years ago, a vocabulary word popped out of the storyline, and it's been an element of my daily meditation since. The word is SHOKUNIN, which is a tremendous goal for blogging. Here's my take on shokunin for bloggers.


A shokunin, in Japanese culture, is an artisan seeking to master his skill. As an apprentice, a worker learns to do the job and think of it as a craft that gives something special to the community. It's a quest for perfection, although perfection is expectedly out of the realm of possible. Consequently, the artisan is never satisfied, although the aspiration to create something perfect continues. As a blogger, your craft aspiration is infinite. You can write more clearly, more effectively, more engaging. You can find more interesting topics, write in less time, or impact someone else's life in a profound way. The goal will always move for a shokunin blogger.


In my line of work, we say "garbage in, garbage out" when we're handed poor inputs. The shokunin way is to seek the best available inputs (e.g., if it's winter, take what the land gives you then). Quality intake maximizes what you can deliver. As a blogger, it's wise to seek good sources of education, entertainment, and inspiration. That's not to say you can't cycle through cable news shows to update on current events, but don't watch it all day. What do you think would be quality inputs? How about smart podcasts, good blogs from other industries, books your friends recommend (hopefully they know your taste or style), a (post-pandemic) trip to the museum, or a relaxing day at the park where you clear your mind. Anxiety won't help your blogging effort. Clarity is the goal of a shokunin.


What is the goal of your blog? How do you deliver value? Is it educational? Is it entertaining? Is it inspirational? If you know your blog's north star, you can direct your shokunin energy toward writing in that direction. Clarity of purpose for the win... Deliver maximum value to your audience. Continue delivering better over time. Strive for perfection with that north star concept.


Shokunin for Bloggers

I hope my reasoning for including shokunin in my philosophy is apparent. Writing is a creative endeavor that needs intense, focused practice. Most likely the reason you're reading this blog is the goal of monetizing your writing. And a key ingredient of that is practicing shokunin for bloggers. If you do, you're approaching your goal with each step. And in the end, you'll be an artisan, perhaps a true shokunin.


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