I was on the verge of pulling a really mean trick on my readers, almost by accident. The original title of this post was going to be 'How to Write A Best-Selling Blog', but that wasn't going to be the real subject. It occurred to me that my attempt at ironic humor might not go over as well as I'd hoped, so I modified the title. Let me explain.
In this new electronic world we live in, everybody is an expert, which is another way of saying that nobody is. Any semi-literate monkey can, and does have a blog or webpage or youtube channel or whatever. I am proof positive that literally anybody can do this. Everybody wants to be heard, but nobody is really that certain as to how. So in come the experts to rescue you, hapless blogger guy. If you run a search on 'how to drive blog traffic' or 'how to sell e-books', you'll see what I mean. There is an entire industry out there writing what everybody already knows. By this I mean stuff you would have learned in the first 5 minutes of your 6th grade creative writing class.
A lot of the people that read my stuff also write their own stuff (and usually do a better job of it), so you probably know exactly what I mean. If you peruse the 'experts' who write very generic 'how-to' articles for this website or that one, you'll find real pearls of wisdom like 'write things that are interesting to your readers'. Really? How profound! I thought the idea was to write stuff everybody hated! Wow, thank you, Mr. Expert!
The experts also give you very vague information that is of no use whatsoever to you because of its vagueness. For example they will say "Use social media to its fullest." Ah yes, social media. Hmm...This advice is akin to writing a gardening article and proclaiming that 'plants grow better outside'. Some of us have gone the social media route, and it has not been the bonanza gold mine that it's peddlers would tell you. It's better than nothing, but anybody that says throw a web site up and tomorrow you'll be famous has no idea what they are talking about. If the viral-ness ( maybe not a word) of a video was predictable or controllable, everybody would do it. So that video of your chihuahua yelping the Star Spangled Banner might be a big hit, or it might not.
Of course there is an angle to all this that falls under the 'mean trick' category of irony. If you write an article about how to become a big hit , people desperate to learn something might flock to that article, and the article then becomes a big hit. Despite having added nothing of any real substance to the discussion, you are now a high-traffic internet writer guy. You might sell a lot of books telling people how to sell more books. I'm sure there's a business school term for that besides 'crazy'.
It's sort of like the televangelist who says "if you send me 100 dollars, God will give you 1000" when the truth is that if "you send me 20 dollars , I'll be at least 20 dollars richer". If it really worked that way, it seems to be that Benny Hinn would be sending out 100 dollar bills as fast as he could so that HE could get the $1000 from God. But what do I know? I'm just a street preacher.
My solution to all this is just to write what I want.I can't tell what you're interested in, so I write about what I'm interested in. I write in spurts, something else the experts speak against. I write compulsively. I write about Bible stuff, and family stuff, and economic stuff, and art and church history and science and politics. I write about weird people that I bring home and issues with my kids. In all of it, despite being a solitary individual, I try to be very genuine, just like when I preach. Some stuff gets a lot of attention, some gets absolutely ignored. I have found I cannot even predict which category anything will fall into. Therefore, I don't try.
Somehow, that works. Lots of people read this. Good thing I'm not an expert.