The following article was published on Medium
So you want to start writing? I don’t blame you. It’s like the swiss army knife of social tools, career choices, stress reliefs, and wholesome hobbies. It’s a beautiful skill and one that if you keep at it, only gets better. But it isn’t easy to write. The main reason for that has to do with why you want to write. If you want to release all that built up energy inside of you then writing is a perfect way to do that. A little 60 minutes out of the day in your bed or at your desk coming up with words that form random thoughts is always a healthy, fun exercise.
But if you are looking to write for a purpose, whether it’s to gain money or further your writing notoriety, then you’re in for a pretty harsh discovery. An awakening of sorts. Which is that, what you truly want to write about, is not what people want to read. The reason why that is the case is not at my disposal. I’m neither qualified nor informed to explain why the human attention span has shrunk to micro levels that can not fathom any topic denser than a bag of chips. All I know is bubble gum titles such as “10 things that…” or the notorious “how to” are the type of headlines that get people to click on articles and read the content. These titles revolve around subjects like lifestyle, health, social media, and other clickbaity topics. Noble topics, not terrible ones, but at the same time, you’re not exactly changing the world by writing about them.
And that, my ambitious writer friend, is the saddest discovery you will make about writing. That you are going to have to write about subjects you don’t care for, and at times, flat out hate. You will sit there at your laptop, squeezing your mind like a wet towel for every last drop of inspiration you can muster, just so you can meet a daunting word count, and submit that God awful piece about the “6 Best Ways to Bathe Your Cat ”. That’s another thing I might add. Concepts such as word count, headlines, SEOs, consume your once free-floating writing process. They may be foreign concepts at first, but they will occupy you from A-Z because these are the tools required to generate clicks, rank your article on Google, and make you stand out from the rest of the wolf pack. That is the gruesome truth about writing in today’s digital day and age. So best you get familiar with the many types of Matcha drinks and figure out the 10 ways to expertly do something because those are going to be the brunt of your writing material for the time being.
But it’s not all bad. It really isn’t. In fact, you’ll be glad to know that I got the worst out of the way so I can get to the good news. Because there is good news. And the good news is this: you’re writing. You’re getting paid for it, and you’re getting recognized. Just like with everything in life, if it involves money it also involves sacrifice. Writing is not that different. But, at least with writing you’re doing it in the comfort of your own space. You’re doing something you love while getting recognition for it and building a network of fans and followers. Plus you’ll have enough free time on your hands to pursue those passion projects that don’t involve constricting yourself to the limits of stomach-churning headlines and feeble-minded topics. Balance is key in writing, as with everything in life. And as long as you are producing great content, content people love to read, the rest shouldn’t bother you. Especially if you’re adding your own flair into the mix, and broadcasting your writing skills throughout.
So yes writing comes with a reality check, making tough choices, making sacrifices, and taking jobs that you really don’t want to take, so you can make money which really isn’t all that much. But it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. Meeting editors, getting published, building a portfolio, attracting readers, those are the things that should be your focus early on. So if people want to read about the easiest way to make mayonnaise at home, be the one to tell them about it! Write the shit out of that “How to mayonnaise at home” piece. Then, maybe it’s best you log off for a while, and don’t mention any of it to anyone…
But then log back on and get back to writing the things you love to write about for the people that love to read it!
And then, rinse and repeat.