How to Write a Transformational, Life-Changing, Self-Optimizing Post in 18.5 Unbelievably Easy-Peasy Steps
And be rich and happy forever (and ever)
You might think writing a self-help post is an easy task. I mean, sure you could just grab a handful of Hallmark cards out of the “Encouragement” section and plagiarize the fuck out of them, but who does that?
Real thought-leaders and gurus have deep insights and useful things to say in a truly unique, highly entertaining voice that’s neither derivative nor horrifically condescending. At all.
And they never use sarcasm. No seriously. They just, don’t.
But who says we can’t all be gurus? No one. And as far as I’m aware, you don’t need a degree in “Shameless-Tripe-Spewing” to irritate people, so why not go for it! Be a guru!
BUT FIRST… Read this post.
You might not need a degree but, if you want to be happy, wealthy and popular, you’ll need to know the secrets of all the other successful personal growth specialists (aka: a very annoying person who’s “solved” all of life’s great goddamn mysteries and deigned to share a bunch of superficial platitudes with the rest of us).
So, without further ado, here’s THE definitive guide to achieving such glorious infamy.
How to Write a Super Helpful Self-Help Piece in 18 Un-fucking-believably Easy Steps:
1. Identify a “problem” that like, everybody has.
Or only a certain generation.
Or just people who work in tech.
Anyways, just pick some general human insecurity and exploit it… I mean, help people overcome it.
First-world problems are the best as your audience is probably drinking a latte right now (I know I am). For instance:
Start Being a Better Whatever it is You Think You Coulda/Woulda/Shoulda if you didn’t fucking suck so much at everything… you lazy piece of shit.
Learn to Stop Running Yourself Over with Your Car!
If you’re super cool, you’ll leave people wondering if your post is a metaphor for something else:
When he says “car” does he mean “my negative thoughts?” And by “running yourself over” does he mean “I’m the problem?”
Voila! ONE BILLION new subscribers to your newsletter!
2. Wanna really blow some minds? Make your self-help funny. But without actually being funny because rule number one is: always take yourself way too seriously. The “funny” part is easily accomplished by tagging your piece humor irrespective of its painful lack of any semblance of anything that could be even remotely construed as comedy.
This is your big chance to be the Muzak of the comedy world.
3. Speaking of tags — always tag your post with the following:
- Personal Growth (apologies, but this phrase always make me think of someone who has a growth and, let’s just say, it’s pretty personal — i.e., How’s that personal growth of yours? Was the doctor able to remove it?)*
- And of course: Humor (because being funny is easy when you mistake whatever the hell it is you’re doing… for humor).
*Note: If you have an actual personal growth-growth and want to make it funny, name it Lumpy and glue some googly eyes to it. Then enroll it in an improv class.
4. Be edgy. Or don’t.
It honestly doesn’t matter one way or the other because in this particular genre, edgy simply means you’re gonna say “fuck” at least once and act like you’re the iPhone X of self-help experts here to replace all those lame Blackberries.
If that doesn’t resonate with your particular style, just stick with the tried-and-true method of stealing ideas from Dr. Seuss and stripping them of their genius and wit.
5. Always take time to meditate — Oh fuck off!!
6. Um. What I meant to say is: Meditation is a thing that successful self-help writers tell other people to do. I doubt they themselves meditate because they’re too busy being productive (before 4 am) to do whatever it is that meditation involves (Yoga pants? Sitars? Gluten-free incense? I genuinely don’t care).
7. Be vague. Because being vague is easy. Just like humor.
8. Tell insomniacs to get more sleep. If this doesn’t make your post a viral sensation, I. CAN. NOT. HELP. YOU.
9. Did I mention that you should avoid sarcasm like it’s a really snarky strain of syphilis?
10. Stay away from paragraphs.
11. If you must write a paragraph (sigh), make sure it’s so incredibly benign and pointless that it in no way impacts your larger point, which is: I have no idea. Honestly. Not a clue.
But that’s the secret sauce! Simply assert that if folks follow your “tips” they’ll reach financial and emotional nirvana. Very few people will question this because they’re all too afraid to admit they don’t have the slightest bloody idea what you’re talking about. They’ll just assume that merely reading your post is a magical elixir that will bring them happiness and success (within 4-to-6 weeks).
Or they hate you and quit reading after the byline.
Either way, you’re creative (because you tagged it thusly).
12. Make it sound as if you have some cute, kooky little quirks that make you semi-relatable to all those “duds” you’re trying to “help.” Even though, truth be told, you wouldn’t know kooky if it whimsically kicked you in your hokum-filled nutsack.
Examples of “kookiness” include: adding a little anecdote about how you sometimes you eat macaroni and cheese with your hands, or forget to wear pants, or… No! Stop! That’s too funny!
Just shoot for weak references to your very insignificant mistakes like:
“This morning I put butter on my toast instead of love because I wasn’t focused on the most important thing:
See, it’s really easy for any of us to lose sight of what really matters.”
13. Whatever you do, DO NOT be silly.
“Funny-not-funny” is your sweet spot. Think of it this way: if sarcasm in a self-help post is syphilis, then silly is gonorrhea.
Point is, employing silliness will just confuse people who legit ONLY read stuff intended to make them feel like crap about their daily routines or who honestly think if they could just stop “running themselves over” they’d be rich. These people will lose sleep over why you said something that was “silly” because you can’t just say silly stuff without it having a deeper, more profound meaning. Remember, this could all be a metaphor… or like, a simile.
Also, comedy is not entertaining unless it’s complicated. And you agree with it.*
14. If you’re going for an “unconditional love” sorta vibe in your post, say something excruciatingly obvious regarding respecting, loving, accepting, or touching yourself.
If you’re headed in more of a “tough love” direction, just say something incredibly obvious about not doing a bunch of obvious shit no one should do:
“Don’t squirt glue up your nose holes.”
Huh? What?! Why has no one ever told me this before??!
Man, you’re good.
15. Quote Buddha or Mr. Burns. Or make up a quote+name that sound just shy of flat-out stupid:
Bad ideas are like words. They’re everywhere but you probably won’t notice if you can’t read.
-Malcolm M. Emersonston
Stay away from obvious phonies like:
Never squirt glue up your nose holes.
-Sir Buttface Von Douchendump III
16. Talk about a bad day/shrimp cocktail you once had, but talk about it like you dealt with it, got some therapy and now you’re totally okay. Your devastating battle with rotten shellfish will give others the inspiration they need to skim your post.
17. For your lead image, find a stock photo of people looking lobotomized. This is how you reel them in.
18. And the most important thing to do if you wanna write a really successful, self-improvement piece:
Wait. Are you still reading this?
Hold on. You mean, people actually read these? No they don’t!
You sure they’re not just reading the same way I watch a Lifetime movie, just to make fun of it?
Well, in that case…
18.5. The most important thing to do if you wanna write a really successful, self-improvement piece is:
Include a short, menacing headline like: “If You Don’t Stop Doing That, You’ll Go Blind.”
That feeling you have right now… that’s happiness and success. Get used to it.