Back in the old days, back when your Mom had to drop you off at the Tacoma Public Library, back when you had to search through four encyclopedias and a stack of texts for the answer, information was precious. What a dream the Internet was. Everything, everything you could think of, was a click or search away. Now we see how silly our ideas were. We forgot about human nature. So instead of the promise of a new day we got the same old thing: mean-spirited back-biting, used car salesmen selling get rich schemes, and more bouncing boobs that I thought inhabited the planet.
Now, we have so much information that it’s hard to remember the question. Without gatekeepers, we have every crack-pot idea sitting on the mantle right next to centuries of dedicated research. The squeaky wheel runs the Internet. Forget expertise and fact-checks. Whoever masters SEO and 80/20 A/B testing and Ad placement is the thought leader. And it’s very possible that they’ve never had an original thought but buy or steal ‘content’ from other sites.
Every one of us is inundated with this mess. I can’t say how many pop-ups I get on social media for offers of email courses to teach me the ONE THING that everyone misses to grow their site to stratospheric levels. Ignore these people. It’s all a ruse.
None of this argues that there aren’t reams of quality, trusted, and valuable stuff available. So I have a plan for you. Pick one thing and stick with it. It doesn’t matter which one you pick. The keys to success in anything you’re doing are all the same. Learn the ins and outs of what you pick. Learn how it applies in different situations. Immerse yourself in it. Milk it for every little drop you can get out of it.
I’ve settled on a couple things. For self-help, I’ve been listening to Mel Robbins and her 5-second countdown. I like that she has both feet on the ground and veers away from the overtly otherworldly. She roots her advice in personal experience and, for my money, touches a cord. I temper all this with a strong dose of authenticity.
I’ve glommed onto Harold Evan’s Do I make Myself Clear and Margot Livesey’s The Hidden Machinery as writing primers. I use WordPress and GoDaddy for my websites. I write with Scrivener. I use Linux rather than Windows or Apple on my computers. I drive an old Saab. These might be tiny, meaningless quibbles but I feel a freedom knowing that I don’t have to make decisions about any of this. It’s a done deal. Which frees me up just a tiny bit to write more.
Which, for me, is what it’s all about.
Let me do a little math for you. That perky gal who promises to double your Facebook group membership each month? Let’s see how that works. If you have 10 members in January then you’ll have 20 in February and 40 in March. Sounds great, doesn’t it? But how will you manage your business in 30 months when you top a million subscribers? That’s right. Doubling your membership every month means that every human on the planet will be buying from you in about 34 months. But they won’t. Of course, it’s silly. But the purveyors of these programs don’t’ expect anyone to believe them. I wonder if they believe themselves.