This is a frequent advice in inspirational articles about starting a blog: “write list posts”. Among other advice of course. But when I started reading these articles a few months back, I was happy to finally be able to put a name on all the posts I was coming across, the ones with titles like “5 Reasons Why”, “10 Things You Should Know About”, “The 15 Best Ways To”. Of course, these inspirational articles were also insisting on writing good content and as often as possible.
I thought I wouldn’t write list posts. As the various “post typologies” cleverly elaborated by professional bloggers stipulate, there are inspirational posts, review posts, research post, instructional posts, and so on. List posts may be acknowledged as magnets for readers, as sexy and practical, but they were not sexy to me.
When you finally start your blog, you know that if (emphasis please, thrice) you ever build an audience, it will take months, or years even. In the meantime, you will have spent many evenings feeling grim, watching the shared list posts invade your Facebook page, like an old spinster peeking from her threshold at a noisy group of kids invited to a neighbor’s party downstairs.
Anyway, so I thought — in the twilight zone between classiness and snobbishness — that I will not use that kind of strategy to trick the audience into reading me. I decided that I will work hard and build a niche audience interested in reading me, sharing their own thoughts and writing in return and recommending me to friends and colleagues.
But after 3 weeks, even though a moment ago you were — brave and wise — talking about the months and years it would take, you start to panic. Not panic panic, like “I forgot to turn off the hide-site-from-search-engines switch in my website parameters” (you know, like that “I actually never bought my plane tickets” dream the night before your plane takes off). But panic like “maybe I should have written a list post after all”.
So, are you ready? Ok, I’m giving it a go:
5 Reasons Why I’m Writing A “List Post” When I Said I Wouldn’t
1: Refusing to write a list post may actually be suicidal.
Saying “I don’t do list posts” may be like saying “I don’t do coupons” when you open a shop or a café, especially if this café is selling coffee with sugar at an extra .50 buck per stick, while the café nextdoor, which has been there forever, offers free refills (of coffee and sugar). I mean, come on.
So I’m writing a list post not to be the snob my mom wishes I hadn’t turned out to be.
2: Challenging myself
Am I even able to write a list post? The readers that have not (and will not) open this post and the ones that have already clicked themselves away (so I guess that’s just you and me, uh?) will be able to tell you.
I don’t know what I’m doing right now. To paraphrase Luce’s mother in Imagine Me And You, I feel like I’m holding a hot cup of coffee and realize I’m about to sneeze.
3: Addressing major, viral topics
I wanted to see what would happen to my reading stats if I wrote a post addressing three major, featured, hot topics of the Medium community, like writing (obviously), GE2015 (what the heck) and humor. So I tagged this post accordingly (tagging it “Nepal” would have been bad buzz) — even though I feel I’m not doing such a good job so far. But hey, sometimes things go viral and you don’t know why and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. So world, beware.
4: Promoting my blog
This delusional fourth reason gets you back to the introduction of this list post, more precisely to the paragraph about the 3-week panic attack.
This whole post may actually be a big mistake. Reader, please forgive me and know that this is only a passing weakness.
THIS IS NOT WHO I REALLY AM AS A WRITER!
5: Knowing what I want and where I want to go
So some hours have passed since I started scribbling on my notebook in the train to work this morning. I taught, had lunch and then iced tea with my significant other down our street.
I actually enjoyed writing this post: I made fun of myself and also gave some more thought to what I want to do with my blog.
Originally, I started writing under our tent while travelling. Canada, Iceland, Laponia, Japan and New Zealand this summer. I love writing these travel journals. I write them in French and can share them with people at home. I submitted them to a travel writing competition and I started duplicating them on my blog. But overtime I realized that I was also writing short texts on women, books and equal rights; texts which I may want to share, on my blog and sometimes exclusively on Medium.
I think I see my blog as a kind of “book” (as in a professional book, a sample of my writing) which may someday give me the exciting opportunity to write articles for other blogs, magazines, newspapers, in both English and French.
Yes, I have a dream.
In the meantime, I thrive on writing, whatever the type of post. I guess that’s my medium.
aka CARRIE SPEAKING,
Travel Writer, Blogger.
Visit my blog @ http://carriespeaking.com