Great writers — I mean, the ones who really stand out —are conduits through which you unearth a greater understanding of the world, of your line of work, and also of yourself. They’re as rare as they’re also necessary.
Not all good writers are great writers. I’ve read whole J-Schools full who are solid, convincing, technically proficient, and utterly forgettable. Most freelance columnists at mainstream media publications fall into this bucket.
And, not all great writing is even good writing. I love the shit out of Cormac McCarthy—he’s probably read in more high school English classes than his works, if written as term papers, would’ve allowed him to pass.
Then, there are your favorite writers. They’re the ones you know by the name, the ones you keep coming back for, the ones you send to your friends and you say, “ayo, this shit is fucking amazing.”
Not everyone can be a favorite … favorites are even rarer — and more necessary — than greats: they become a part of you.
Medium’s kinda like that. There are good writers (pretty much the whole recurring casts of Elemental, Forge, GEN, and HP); there are bad writers (pretty much everywhere else); there are highly capable writers slumming it on listicles; there are aggressively incapable writers penning well-intentioned podium-pounders that fade to max-volume static by paragraph three.
Then there are my favorite writers, who might be good, might be great, or might be unwitting beneficiaries of my own particular and peculiar tastes.
Each year, I add new names to an ever-growing list of people who’ve left an indelible mark on me. Some are consistent and solid; some are sui generis. Some write three times a week, others three times a year. All have made my Medium reading experience more enjoyable. I publish those names in the hopes that they might do the same for you. This is the class of 2021.