This is a post about writing online. It is written for myself, just to clarify something in my own mind, but I’ll share it with you anyway because if you also write online, maybe you have had similar thoughts.
Yesterday, I posted about the trip I took with Jana to Walt Disney World. Â I titled it, “Walt Disney World: World of Laughter and Tears.” Clever, huh? Originally, I named it Â “Walt Disney World: A World of Laughter, a World of Tears,” which Â better matches the lyrics of “It’s a Small World,” but when I googled the title, I saw it was already taken by TEN OTHER writers!
Still, I liked the post. Â When I started out writing it, I had three objectives, and I satisfied all of them.
1) Show off some new photos of Walt Disney World since I didn’t feel comfortable posting a million of them on Instagram where I would be mistaken for one of those dreaded Parent Bloggers.
2) Prove to my friend Danny that I could effectively mock the Disney ethos AND kiss Disney’s ass at the same time, just in case I ever want free tickets to some social media event there.
3) Prove to my friend Tanis that yes, I could go away for the weekend with a bright and attractive woman, and not have her break up with me.
Mission Accomplished to all three.
But did I really prove anything? And is this real writing? Â What type of writer am I? Â The stakes are so low. Â It’s almost childish.
Recently, I had bookmarked this article titled “6 Simple Ways to Get More People to Read Your MEDIUM Posts.” (via Medium). Â I read it yesterday while travelling in the subway. Â The writer had very strong opinions about online writing.
You have to SELL your ideas in Medium, and the best way you can do that is to make it about people. Donâ€™t say â€œI did this and thatâ€. SAY, â€œYou can experience this and that.â€ â€¦ why?â€¦ Because the viewer wants to learn something FOR himself. Not about you..
Letâ€™s say you really want to tell a personal story about yourself and your horrible experience at a night club.
Donâ€™t say, â€œI went there, I did this, and this happened, and then this happenedâ€¦â€
Start with something like,
â€œDonâ€™t make the same mistake I did when you go to a NIGHT CLUB.â€
See how that changed everything? ..The prospective? To other people?..
You can ALWAYS make any personal story about others if you told them what they can learn from the experience and how they can take caution so they donâ€™t end up doing the same thing you did.
By the way, It could be a HAPPY story too.
But donâ€™t write, â€œI went to Disneyland and did this and this and that, and it was amazing.â€
No, you should start with something like,
â€œHereâ€™s how YOU can maximize your trip to Disneyland with these simple (but essential) tricks.
I looked back over my last post. Immediately I notice that I failed to even write the traditional â€œI went to Disneyland and did this and this and that, and it was amazing” post. Â My post is a slight of hand, nonsense to fill the space until I have enough nerve to say publicly that I had a nice time with Jana.
Now, let’s imagine I come home from Walt Disney World, but with a different perspective, one of professional writing. The first question I would ask myself if “Now that I’m home from my trip with Jana, how can I best use my writing and/or photography skills to make at least a measly $100 by sharing something about my experience?” I know. Â $100. Â But better than nothing, right?
Now to make some money out of this, I would need to pitch some story idea to an outside website or publication. Which one? And what is the pitch?
Of course, the story is already there, hidden in the middle of the post, when I write this sentence —
Â “Can romance be found at a Disney theme park, a location crowded with crying children, stressed out parents, and senior citizens aggressively driving their rent-a-scooters like the extras in a Mad Max film?”
That’s it. That’s the story. Everything else is the piece is irrelevant to a reader looking for content. Â This becomes a post about me using my experience to HELP OTHER PEOPLE decide if they should go with their girlfriend to Walt Disney World. That is a successful pitch for a travel or dating site, no?
Now is the bigger question. Â Do I want to help others to “maximize the romance of going to Walt Disney World?” Â Do I want to write this post? Â Not really.
But that’s another problem.
You crack me up. But yes, this is what I tell my kids ALL the time when they are writing college, job, or scholarship applications. “No one cares about what you want and how this is the right fit for you. They only care about what’s best for them. Write about what you have to offer them and keep it true and make it interesting.” (Mom, The PR Pro)
yeah, I know.
I think that writing for a blog and writing for a market are two entirely different things unless your blog is heavily monetized. Or whatever that phrase is.
But maybe that’s just how it is in my world. I loved your Disney post just as it was.
I suppose it all depends on what you’re trying to get out of the writing. For me, it has not turned into any money whatsoever, but the vast richness I have gotten from it in terms of community cannot be overstressed.
I have just spent two days with people I feel as if I have known all my life and we “met” through our blogs in that strange way that we meet and recognize similar souls. This time together in the real world has felt like being with people I’ve known all my life. Like we’re just now catching up on things. It’s been tremendous.
So who am I writing for when I write? Myself. Of course. And those who respond to that become my readers and I often become theirs. And sometimes…well, it’s all nothing short of a miracle.
I’m sure all of this is not what you had in mind when you wrote this post but it’s what I’m experiencing right now in my real life which has become so braided into my blog life that it’s hard to tell the difference and in some cases- there is no difference at all.
Hey, now, I was once one of those elders driving the rented scooter like a maniac;
just not when you were there, unfortunately.
Funny. I wouldn’t want to read that post either, but I do want to read about what happened to you. Forget those small potatoes! (And now excuse me while I finish writing about what you should look for in a pediatrician.)
Citizen of the Month has been included in our A Sunday Drive for this week. Be assured that we hope this helps to point even more new visitors in your direction.