- Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Are you a good enough writer?

Are you a good enough writer?
One bad advice people will tell you is, "In order to grow and be famous, you have to have quality writing. If your work is good, people will share it." That rudely implies, especially in the bigger blogger world, if you have been writing for some time and didn't get famous, that's because your writing sucks, work on that.

Well, yes and no. You have to have quality content in the sense that your article doesn't look like it was translated by Bing, but beyond that... Most of the big bloggers are not actually any better writers than most of the small bloggers I read. In fact, there are some huge famous bloggers I don't read because they really aren't creative writers, they don't say anything worth reading, and I think their memoirs are fake.

You Have to Suck at Writing to Get Paid for It

For the most part.... Most of the "Writers" I know don't blog. Their work is in New York Times or The Washington Post. They don't have a blog because they have a job. They did the writer deal before the internet made it too easy to blog, create e-zines, and self-publish books. They went to school, majored in journalism, and started out working a beat at a paper and worked their way up. That's a Career Writer in the traditional sense.

Even then, most of their writing does not qualify for a Pulitzer. My local paper, where one writer makes more money in a year than most of the bloggers I know combined, is full of typos and bad grammar. Meanwhile, a paid writer for some of the bigger newspapers can write an article that looks well written with big words and flashy intellect until you read the piece and realize it was all fluff. That's because they aren't really writers. They are news reporters.

Most of what you are told in your career as a paid writer is to suck at writing because people want to read an article quickly, in seconds. They tell you to...

  • Keep the most important parts of a story above the fold
  • Use headings and subheadings
  • Keep paragraphs 2 to 3 sentences long
  • Write like you are talking to someone, not at them
  • Use second person You
  • Don't use big words; keep it conversational
  • Write for a 5th grade reading level

If you told William Shakespeare to do all that, he would have vomited the tears of a thousand words.

Shakespeare Quote WTF Did I just read

Good Writers are Not as Famous as Bad Writers

Toni Morrison, one of the best writers in this day, Pulitzer Prize winner and one of the top authors pimped out by the Almighty Oprah, has only 350K followers on Facebook. ONLY 350K. Yes. That's a lot compared to me, but Toni doesn't compare her numbers to mine. No. On the other hand, James Patterson, who hasn't won a Pulitzer, whose name I can never remember, whose book I can read in 2 hours and not think of twice, whose books end up in used book stores because nobody keeps them, he's a top selling author on Amazon with a Facebook page of 3.7 million people. The best writers are actually not that famous in comparison to mainstream writers. But I'll tell you what. In 50 years, Toni Morrison's Book will be required reading in high school or college, and James Patterson, won't. Meanwhile, James is probably wiping his ass with 20 dollar bills.

Toni Morrison vs James Patterson Quotes and Fans

The Most Famous Writers of All Time are Not Even Writers 

The best selling book of all time is The Bible. Nobody who wrote in it were thinking about metaphors, or a better noun or an action verb. They didn't go to a seminar about networking. They were just simply documenting life as they knew it.

On top of it, Jesus only had 12 disciples. That's like a guy who blogs who has 12 subscribers, but His message has reached the entire world over and over again through a period of over 2,000 years. He is probably the top-quoted guy ever, and He didn't even write a book. I think what He has, and what the apostles have, that you don't always find with writers, was they had something important to say.

Jesus if He were a blogger

So Are you Good Enough?

Yes. Some of us are better at certain things than others, and that's fine, because our purpose is also different. Our needs are different. But all of us have something someone out there is looking for, and it's ok if it's not mainstream.

Epic Art Gallery Metaphor You Should Read

Perspective Quote and Picasso Art Motivational
When you go to the art gallery, you aren't thinking about what it took for those pieces to be there. Some of those artists studied art for 30 years while others dabbled in it for the first time last year. Most of them are there because of marketing and networking, which has more to do with personality than quality of art. And you are oblivious to the dirty business side of the art world as a viewer.

Instead, you assume all the pieces there are made by good artists. You never question their craft, their job, or their ability. You walk around looking at the story in each painting more so than the strokes. You look at every piece and decide which ones resound most to you. The ones you will share with others are the ones you want others to know about you, but your most highly loved art work is going to be private between you and that piece. The artist has no idea how he just touched your soul, and that is part of what makes it so amazing.

Your writing is that way. Whether you write how-tos or report the news, or whether you write creative stories or memoir... People viewing your work do not question whether or not you are a good writer. They aren't judging your abilities. (Editors might). They are simply looking for something that touches them. The magic isn't whether or not you touched everyone like a mainstream whore, but how you touched their souls in a meaningful way.

In the end, the numbers don't mean shit beyond something to throw at people superficial enough to care about those things. You don't have to be a good writer to get famous. You don't have to be famous to be a good writer. It's because the only one thinking about the writing is the writer. The readers are looking for an experience.

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