WTF — Writing To Fail
I joined medium a month ago. I heard this is THE PLACE for aspiring writers, as well as for those who used to be regarded as “Readers”, but have now been diminished to — “Content Consumers”.
Propelled by hope and thirst, I came to Medium after a long process of peeling myself off, layer by layer of costumes and false pretend. I still don’t know if I discovered myself, or is it just another projection of others on me.
But for the first time in my life, it feels like I’m staring at myself without any borrowed glasses or shitloads of filters, with my reflection being accentuated by a ray of light. A ray of light that I’m fighting hard not to direct elsewhere using the “reality check” mirror.
What I discovered was, for me, a tiny piece of hope to a future entailing myself doing what I love and what makes me happy. And this is hope I wish to hold on to for as long as it takes to turn it to a reality.
At the age of 30 just after my engagement, after 16 years of working non-stop in places where others pointed me to, it downed on me. I realized that I’m heading at the wrong direction and I have to jump off the train now, before I make baby carts, and find myself too busy towing those carts behind me, trying to navigate the train to its final destination. The end of my life,
So I quit my job to do some soul searching. Watched a lot of TED talks. Took my search public, and opened a Facebook group with the oh-so-unique name “30s and Searching”. These were some depressing, self-resenting, painful 6 months, in which my brain kept looping the horrifying question: “How rotten can one be inside?” having not found a single thing I enjoy doing.
Until finally it hit me. Writing.
How clouded was my brain to have missed that? I always loved writing. My dad is a writer (though the boring type, he writes encyclopedia's and history books). My grandfather was a famous Russian screen play writer. My mom recently wrote a highly acclaimed memoir of my grandmother's horrible life in too many death camps for one to survive.
If it isn’t due to my love of writing, it is at least the inescapable result of my undoubted gene structure. So I decided to go ahead, though through the road less traveled. If I’m going to be a writer, I need to exit my comfort zone. Writing in my own scarily used language will not offer me the same possibilities as writing in English. So here I am.
How to Write To Succeed
After a month of reading writing related tips, posts, reviews, fails, do’s and don’ts, etc., I realize that writing is a much broader term than it used to be. So broad in fact, that it is hard to see where writing stops and where marketing begins.
Some tips I read over and over again:
- If you want people to read what you have to write: You. Have. To. Write. Short. Sentences. Unless you want to convey a point, than it needs to be a long one. Confused?
- Use exclamation marks! You need to let the audience feel as if you are talking to them, because writing in the form of writing… well that is so 20th century.
- And you have to use quotes, because it breaks the formation and adds some freshness to the look and feel of the content.
Like adding a wall in the middle of the living room to “break the space and add some interest”. Because that is what you want to feel when you’re at your living room, interested.
- Make sure to throw in some stats. For example: “I quit my job to search for my true passion — Did you know that according to a new study published by someone who talked to 100 people, and can be easily rebutted by another study - 87% of people want to leave their current job to peruse their passion?”. Now my point is much clearer.
- Use an appealing image. Goes without saying. Though has been said way too many times. And yes, I haven’t added one here, that’s my small rebellion!
- HEADLINE!!!! It’s all about the headline! It’s 90% of the work apparently. So you just need to have small amount of talent or ability. And apparently, there is even a website where you put in your headline to see what the god-knows-what-it-does-algorithm says about it’s quality.
- And how could I have forgotten the sub headlines. Consumers have to know every few sentences what is waiting for them in the next paragraph, or they will loose interest. How can you read a whole paragraph without having a sub-headline at the begging, to prepare you for what’s to come?
And the list goes on….
Perhaps I’m just disgruntled because I’m lazy, and adhering to all these guidelines requires learning a new form of writing.
Perhaps it’s because the only thing I’ve written here received almost the same amount of views or recommendations as my 2nd post, only the latter is still in draft mode and has never been published.
Or maybe, it’s the fact that since I’ve started “writing to succeed” according to the tips I read on Medium, I feel like instead of doing what I love, I found myself assuming a Marketing Manager position again, only this time on my own expense.
Apparently, writing is not the end-goal, it’s just the means.
So if that’s what it takes to be a successful writer on Medium, perhaps it is not for everyone. Just for a certain type of writers who teach each other to write in the same way, as well as for a certain type of readers - The “Content Consumers”.
And if any writer happened to read this post (can’t imagine this could happen), and got offended by what I’ve written, allow me to apologize. I am sure most of the writers here believe in what they write and the way the write it. Though I do think that some are just following the another famous advice : Find something to write about that gives other people value. Regardless of whether its helpful or destructive, or whether the writer believes in it or not.
After all, that’s marketing. You don’t really need to believe in what you are marketing (or writing) yourself, you just need others to think that you do, and make THEM believe in it.
So I decided the fuck with it. I’m writing to fail. It just happens to make a great acronym.
If you are angry, disagree or, god forbid, you happen to relate to what I wrote, feel free to write your comments below. I love a discussion, of any type. And if you pity my sad lost behind, you can click on the heart, and spread the love.