I realize the irony here in that I am now, in a way, blogging about bloggers who blog about blogging.
Blog, blog, blog. Boy, that’s a fun word to say.
But let’s try to stay on task because I think this is important.
I keep noticing, and have been noticing for a long time, people who appear to be successful bloggers writing posts about how much money they make and how they do what they do. Hell, they even sell classes on it now.
And I’m noticing a lot of it since I joined Medium. Posts like, “How to Make Money On Medium,” or “How I Made $x.xx In One Month On Medium!”
And it’s fine, I guess. It’s not really hurting anyone.
I’ll admit it, I click on them. They’re enticing and often well written, sometimes downright inspiring. They fill my head with dreams of quitting my job and retiring early so I can follow my passions.
I can make as much money as they are! Nay! More of it! If they can do it, so can I. I’ll never have to work again!
Who is this creative genius? I must track them down and learn their ways. $300 for an online class on how to blog? A small investment when I’ll surely be making quadruple that every single week and driving to the gym in my Aston Martin! Let’ me go get my credit card —
But then I stop myself.
I go on their sites or check out what they’ve written and most of their content focuses on how to blog or how to make money or some vague combination of the two.
At best, maybe they’ve written some popular “listicles.” Sure they’re well-written and inspiring, but listicles all the same. Or they start talking about how to build your brand and some other social media jargon, all for just $500.
My eyes glaze over.
And its not that I really care, it’s just that does anyone really need to pay hundreds of dollars for these classes?
Are these posts really so insightful that they deserve to get thousands of views and clicks? Isn’t there more valuable content out there that deserves adoration and emulation?
Maybe I just don’t scroll down far enough and there’s gold hidden on their site somewhere. Maybe I need to click on the archives to find the real treasure.
Maybe they are truly brilliant writers and marketing geniuses and the price they are charging for a window into their soul is the bargain of a lifetime.
I don’t know.
But I have to wonder, are they just gaining views and clicks with gimmicks? Lining their pockets by preying on other people’s hopes and aspirations? Where’s the real value-add here? Is it ethical?
Are you really a “blogger” at that point? You’re certainly not a writer. Not by my definition.
Mr. Money Mustache. That’s a blogger/writer who makes a living providing content that enough people find valuable and useful. Minimalist Baker, that’s a blogger/writer who provides value. There’s plenty of them.
You can make a living blogging without turning around and selling people what is basically a pipe dream. I’m sure it’s a lot harder. I’ve never done it. But it can be done.
It’s fair to ask, is this just sour grapes from some hack who can hardly finish anything or produce any meaningful work? Sure, it probably is. It’s also fair to ask if I’m just bitter because I don’t make any money from writing or if I’m just jealous.
Well, I am. I am jealous and I’m as bitter as all hell.
But that’s not important, because my larger point here is what matters: stop paying money to learn how to make money or write better! Just stop.
You want to learn how to make money or to write better? Go to the library, check out a book. You can even check out eBooks from the comfort of your own home now so you don’t have to interact with a sad librarian in an empty, depressing building that people forgot existed.
Buy an eBook on Amazon. It’s a much better investment. Go on YouTube. Listen to podcasts. There are so many free resources out there.
Stop supporting these charlatans. You’re putting yourself in a major hole before you can even get the ball rolling. It’s no wonder people give up so quickly.
Ok, now I just feel like I’m being a curmudgeon so if you only get one thing out of it, I hope it’s this:
You already know how to tell stories and that’s all blogging really is.
Most of us consume stories on an hourly basis via social media. We’ve been consuming narrative since we were old enough to watch Winnie The Pooh and Disney Movies.
You know, almost intrinsically, how this stuff works. I promise. Stories are a part of human culture. You don’t really need a teacher.
Unless of course, you’re under the age of 18. Then you absolutely should be in school and hopefully have teachers.
Read. Watch movies. Journal. Tell your friends and families stories that don’t bore them to death.
It’s all practice. If you need to learn to write well, fine. Go get a copy of an Elements Of Style book or something. Download Grammarly. Just please don’t pay some blogger to teach you.
I’ll say it again, you already know how to tell stories. It’s part of your DNA.
And before you think I’m talking down to people, or giving you some holier than thou spiel, I’ve done this. I’ve written how to articles and listicles. I’ve tried my hand at gimmicky titles and topics and I’ll probably continue to do so.
I’ve also paid for these things before. I’ll cop to it. I’ve paid money for classes and insights from experts that turned out to be junk.
But I promise, if I ever make it to that point, I’ll never turn around and try to sell some lame “How To Blog” e-course. They’re virtually worthless. We don’t need them.
What we need to do is write and tell stories. Almost everyday. Read a lot. We need to get outside and see the world and try to fill ourselves up with as many things that speak to our “souls” as possible.
We simply need to practice what we already know how to do: storytelling. That’s the only way to do it. The only real way.
Get my FREE book, The Tiny Book of Writing Reminders, to help recalibrate your mind and get back to doing what you were meant to do.