Are you a writer?

I used to be. Then I strayed. But I’ve come back. The final nail in the coffin of my wayward ways? Hills Like White Elephants.

It’s like this. I’ve been frustrated because 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 it’s those damned blogs that do me in.

Bloody FingerDo I want a thousand daily readers?

Do I have a vibrant and engaged Facebook group? It’s the key to success!

Do I want one-million verified emails of people who are sitting at home right this second practically panting, wanting to buy anything I produce?

Well, all I have to do is watch the following video. Or buy this program. Or sign up for this daily email. All I have to do is sign my free time and energy and sensibilities to someone else. They really won’t give me anything that I couldn’t have learned on my own but they’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!

Remember What You Love

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 hearts 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  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.

HIlls Like White Elephants

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.

Cheers! Kind of…


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