More than once I have been advised that the way to have a popular blog is to narrow the focus, and craft your writing for a more immediate takeaway.
This is true. Mostly.
People are drawn to read something by the promise of what’s in it for them. People share with their friends because they believe it will be of benefit to them.
That might be to make them laugh. Sometimes it’s to make them think but usually? It’s to inform them.
What’s so wrong with that? Informative is but one style of writing. While I can accept that blogging is a different practice than writing, I cannot so easily toss out so many other great styles and approaches.
Many people who are serious about their writing start a blog as a way to build their platform and reach a wider audience. However, after putting in the time and content many writers become discouraged and hasten to find solutions.
They go looking for answers and what they tend to come up with is that they should write about writing, marketing, self-publishing, or social media.
There have been a number of runaway successes which follow this model. Why? Because everyone wants to know how to make their blog go viral and everyone wants to know how to make their blog profitable.
Tell them and they will come.
But, you know, it reminds me of an old scam: “Make a Million Dollars, Send Me 1 Dollar to Find Out How”. When you mail in your dollar you get a pamphlet which basically tells you to put an ad in the paper like they did.
What if every time you click the link with promises of magic blogging beans you were falling prey to the same trick? What if instead of taking your money, they were stealing your time, or even worse, your dream?
You can fall prey without clicking a link. You can fall victim just by buying into their con game. By believing the fantasy you lose sight of your own vision.
I did. I got caught up into this idea that I had to blog so many times per week or that I needed to adapt my style for the internet.
I forgot what I was trying to say. I lost my voice.
Not anymore. No way.
If I have struck a nerve or if you’ve found yourself in the same pit, if you identify with the following statements, please repeat after me:
From here on out, I will not say anything unless I have something to say. I will not say something unless I know it to be true. I will not say anything unless I can say it passionately. I will not talk about what I do not care about.
I will not further contribute to the noise and clutter of the internet. I will not care if you read my blog only if you are engaged. I will not speak just to hear the sound of my voice. I will not raise my voice just to get your attention.
I will think carefully about what I have to say. I will not panic when the words are not there. I will pause and wait for them.
I will put art before commerce and the task of building friendships ahead of building platforms.
I will remember who I am as well as who you are. I will not try to trick you into reading my blog. I will respect your time, attention, and intelligence.
And I will quit blogging in the event that these statements no longer make any sense to me.