Dear readers, I have already established with certainty the Guaranteed Formula you need for being a successful writer. And I want you to be successful. There is no click-bait here to get you to spend five dollars to be a member, like all those other shiny grifts to fame.
No, I run a tighter operation. Something much more sophisticated.
Consider what I have here as your door dash Taco Bell order, a dozen feet outside your home and sitting mysteriously under a rather large box, propped up by a stick.
Lessons Learned Reading Other People’s Greatness
- Write 100+ Articles That Are 2–7 Minutes
- Join Publications for the Real Boost
- Engage, Interact, and Find your Community
This is pretty much it, dear reader! If you follow this you will improve as a writer. You will improve your audience. You will become, eventually, a writer of some note and fame.
However…doesn’t that feel too mundane? Like, surely there are some secrets? Some kind of caramel apple empanada of forgotten lore, lost somewhere in the bag of tacos, chalupas, and history?
Why yes! Just don’t tell anyone, okay. No, seriously. You have to promise!
The Quiet Parts (shh)
- Start Out About 5–6 Years Ago
- Get Big in Other Places First
- Have Money For Advertising and PR
- Get Lucky on Top of That!
Success isn’t a throughline of linear cause and effect. Like the third soft shell through my digestive track.
It is more like effort gets you lucky tickets and enough effort gets you thousands, but you still have to land on the winning number.
But that’s hard and disappointing to hear. Maybe if you keep looking at more articles on how to be successful…there would be answers you like more? Preferably shorter articles. 2–3 Minutes Life Changers™.
And if you want them? You need to follow me — Through this thought I’m about to explain. Not on Medium, obviously not here, there is virtually no chance you’re into alt-reality surreal humor horror. A genre I’m rapidly inventing to an audience of no one as I eat tacos and am trapped in a box, not terribly concerned with my present, but having some trepidations of my immediate future.
No, what you need to do is make your numbers bigger.
The Conga Line Beats for Thee
The social and economic clout a creator has is entirely reduced to the number of people that follow, like, and subscribe. A video or essay’s relevance, importance, or meaning are abstractions that an algorithm does not have time to care about, like me as I devour the second crunchwarp supreme in this bag.
The two major grifts we typically see amount to Passive Income or Secrets of Success grifts. Things that assure you it’s easy to make a living are lying to you. Between Death and Taxes is Murphy’s Law of certainty.
But it can be easy to see those kinds of gifts. It can be harder when you’re engaging in the noise machine of content. Step, step, step, kick!
With dozens of articles giving armchair perspective towards success that most folks could logic themselves. Step, step, step, kick!
Giving you mad sick strategies like joining writing clubs and following everyone! Step, step, step, kick!
I hate that because of how psychologically manipulative it is to people who probably care enough to want to be writers.
The Psychological Scam
Follow for Follow will net you dozens or hundreds of followers. I’ve seen people without articles published with 500+ followers from that nonsense. And the worst part is it feels effective.
You feel like you’re making a number bigger and that feels great. Step, step, step, kick!
But it’s all a house of cards and nobody is engaged. You’re eating yourself sick on no calorie food and starving from it. When really what you need is a balanced Quesadilla meal with Baja Blast side.
Other writers can be a terrible audience, because writing takes a ton of work. Reading takes a ton of work. We’re all exhausted and there really isn’t just this space you can enter on a road to success. Step, step, step, kick!
If you’re on any content creating platform solely to make money, you should work an online job from home. It will be significantly less effort and more reward.
Writing Must Be Its Own Success
A big piece of advice I see is writing to publish every day and I really caution against that.
I think writing every day can be important, but not publishing. What can you really contribute every day? What important topic can you really cover? How deep into your soul can you mine another entry, day after day, for months?
Every day articles are pulp and follows you get from that are not sustaining.
They’re things that are hard to be proud about. They’re things that probably don’t matter in a year or even in a month. What are some of your favorite 364 articles of 2022? Step, step, step, kick!
When you start shouting everything into the wind in hopes it is carried somewhere, you’re probably going to lose your voice. And I don’t want that.
A Random Online Person’s Tips for Writing
- Write to what you care about
- Write something you’re happy and proud to read
- Write in a way it’s fun or enjoyable to you
- If writing is stressful you should STOP — so you don’t stop forever.
You will never have any guaranteed success as a creator. I’m not saying you shouldn’t try to dance to the Congo line, but statistically you’re not going to ever make more money, with less effort, pursuing content creation than you could by applying for a remote position insurance coordinator job.
I love writing. And if other people take up that mantle, then they’re one of mine. And I don’t want them to burn out grinding or come to hate it because of promised ease or thoughtless guides.
The first thing you work on as a writer is you. Not your success, your audience, the quality of your writing, grammar, certainly not your grammar, or some dream of passive income. It is you.
Because if you somehow make it when you’re not doing it for yourself, look around and ask yourself what you’ve achieved. You just took the long and hard way to do a job you don’t even want.
My advice won’t make you financially successful. It’ll probably even hurt whatever slim chance you have if you’re starting out from scratch.
But hopefully, it’ll make you think about writing in a way that makes you happy. I’m far from anyone of note and my writing is at best fun and interesting to engage with. But, I’ve had so much fun writing these last six months and it’s been one of the best times in my life as a writer.
Try it out. Write for you for a while and see how it feels. Your audience isn’t a guarantee, but you are.