Are you a writer?
I used to be. Then I strayed. But I’ve come back. The final nail on the coffin of my wayward ways? Hills Like White Elephants.
It’s like this. I’ve been frustrated. I love to write. I write some fiction and lots of non-fiction. I like haiku and I enjoy writing blog posts. In fact, I have three blogs and have had more in the past. It’s those damned blogs that do me in.
Do I want a thousand daily readers?
Do you have a vibrant and engaged Facebook group? It’s the key to your success!
Do you want one-million verified emails of people who are sitting at home right this second practically panting wanting to buy anything that you produce?
Well, all you have to do is watch the following video. Or buy this program. Or sign up for this daily email. All you have to do is sign your free time and your energy and your sensibilities to us and we really won’t give you anything that you couldn’t have learned on your own. But we’ll have made money.
And I’ve been chasing this this down, forgetting that I love to write.
It’s not really that all of these plans are a waste of time. It’s that they consume my time for so little return. The stream of people across social media who are trying to sell me pure crap is mind boggling. Then, when I click the button that says ‘No Thanks’ another psychologically enhanced pop-up asks “Really? You don’t want to make your blog better and attract more readers?” I’ve been truly surprised by a couple of the emails I’ve got from purveyors of these programs. In two instances, I’ve received an email saying that if I don’t want to purchase the program that’s okay. They only want people truly interested in success. If I’m not a go-getter or driven to succeed, if I’m fine with my boring lot in life, if I’m happy struggling to make ends meet, well, it’s okay. They only work with winners and not losers! Email back when I want to buy something and prove that I’m a winner!
The antidote to all this chasing is to remember what you love. Do that everyday, first. Set your own priorities. Don’t let the purveyor of “Grow your Pinterest followers by 500% a day!” set your priorities. They have their own priorities and that’s fine. It’s their life and their job. But remember why you are here.
So how to you grow your writer’s audience if not through internet contrivances? How about the old fashioned way? Study your craft and work on writing pieces that move the heart and thoughts of your readers. Write more. It’s the answer to almost all writing questions. Write more and put quality writing into as many spaces as you can for your readers. Quit worrying about SEO so much and worry more about what good writers are writing. Have you read Knausgaard? Flaubert? How about the War Poets from WWI? There is so much good stuff to read that it’s a shame to waste your time thinking about long-tailed keywords.
This all hit me at about the forth line of Hills Like White Elephants. This is what readers want. This is what I want to write. Quit chasing after another ten email addresses. Quit wondering about where the best place is to insert ad code. Write more. Bleed a little more. No. Bleed a lot more.