How to break the vicious loop of writer frustration.
Did you not make over $100 last month, despite writing here for years? It is because you forgot to focus your writing on one person. Re-read that last sentence. If you need to, write it out and say it aloud. That’s the focus of this entire article. Write for one person.
The vicious loop of writing frustration
Do writers want money? Ha! That’s laughable–we ALL want money. There’s nothing wrong with that. But making money is by far not the most important incentive for writers. Writing is a horrible way to make money.
What is the most important incentive for writers? Validation.
Writers thrive on validation. They want people to say, “Yes, you are right. You make a lot of sense, and I agree with your interesting and unique perspective on life.” Writers want to know that they can tell a good story and hold a reader’s interest. They want to feel worthy. They want attention.
Money feels like validation. So does many other things: followers, claps, comments, read counts, views, etc. But what is the quality of these metrics? How do they make you feel?
The frustration comes when we fall into the vicious loop: we chase the validation, and our writing changes because of it. Then we wonder: why am I not getting validation? Why am I not making money? Why am I not getting views and read time?
Comparison makes it worse
At the beginning of every month, we get a slew of articles saying, “I made $4,000 last month, and here’s how you can do it, too.” We click on the article, and it tells us the same things: write more, keep writing, focus on quality. This advice is nebulous at best.
Our minds are left wondering: why did they make it, and I did not? We compare what we’ve made and how it pales in comparison to what they made. But it gets worse.
We begin to compare our writing abilities. We know this damages us, but we can’t help it. It is human nature. We see they are younger or are a new writer; they make several mistakes in their writing, or they are bland, boring, or error-ridden. Make no mistake–this is poison.
It’s time to stop looking at metrics as validation. But how?
Write to ONE person
The metrics will come, but not by chasing them. If you have been writing here for months or years, and you didn’t make $100 last month, I guarantee you didn’t do one thing: you didn’t tailor each piece for one person.
It doesn’t matter what publication you use, how long your article is, or how many pictures, tags, and lists you use. The ONLY thing that matters is that you write to one person. Every time you sit down to write (or stand to write, you weird motherfuckers), you need to keep each piece focused on one person.
Think of it as a kid, making a Valentine’s card for their parent or their crush. They pick ONE person and make that card for THAT person. What the kid makes is art. The intended recipient may not receive the card graciously, but I GUARANTEE that other people that see the card will appreciate it.
That’s the thing: you make something for one person, and other people will enjoy it. If you make something that many people will enjoy, it will get lost among the crowd.
Do this EVERY time you write
Pick a person you want to write to–it can even be yourself. But pick just one person; write your heart out; be honest. Be as creative as you want. Write to get just that person’s attention. Answer questions that person may have. Prompt that person to think about their life. Cause their emotions to stir.
You don’t have to tag that person. Put it online and see who responds. I’ll tell you what happens: it will connect with many people. You’ll get the validation you are looking for, but here’s a bonus idea: don’t wait around for the validation. Go and write your next piece (for one person).
Two more things to consider:
- You are writing to one person. If you begin to interject something that you want to say to someone else, then that is a separate article. Keep your writing focused on one person per article.
- You are writing this to the one person, but realize the public is reading it. Be personable. Be honest. But don’t share bank account information.
Summary and follow-up
Yes, you need to pick a specific person when writing with a person in mind. Sure, it can be a fictional character, but make sure you keep the entire piece focused on writing to that person.
And, yes, I wrote this piece with you in mind. I noticed you haven’t responded to the 100 story challenge. We (it sounds better to me when I say “we”) are trying to get 100 different writers to tell the same story differently–100 different ways. Check it out; I’d love to have you.
If you are interested in my help in crossing the $100 barrier here by April, I’d love to help. All I ask is that you write 45 articles between March and April. Check out details here (respond there in the comments that you’d like my assistance.)