Fine, I’ll Write the Damn Listicle Already
And other concessions as a writer trying to “make it” on Medium.
Finding my place on this platform is a journey I’ve been on since the tail end of 2016, and I’m honestly still confused by it.
I sat down yesterday and begrudgingly wrote an article on boundaries and routine in a listicle format, because that’s what seems to resonate with people.
Which I get it — there’s so much freaking content on the internet, no one has the time to really read these days (or they’re overwhelmed by the options). I myself will exit an article real quick if it doesn’t provide me with the info I’m looking for in a concise, straightforward, and easy to digest manner.
This is where the ironies and contradictions of life come into play — I’m often not the reader I so desperately crave, the one who’s willing to generously offer their precious time.
A dedicated reader, someone who engages with our words with care and consideration, is a blessing to a writer.
And yet, have to remind myself this is not a selfless act.
The work of a writer is to make words so delicious, the reader wants to savor every one of them.
You could also make the point that the work of a writer is simply to convey information. So from this viewpoint, presenting things in an easily scannable way makes a lot of sense.
So what comes next as a writer?
With all of this in mind, I feel at a crossroads, uncertain as to how to move forward.
Do I adapt? Do I offer to others what has so kindly been offered to me (the oh so dear listicle)?
Or do I hold true to my own desire for “slow reading”?
[Note: I’ve reccuringly encountered the use of “slow” in relation to things like travel to refer to a more intentional, drawn out approach to something. So I’m using it here to refer to reading that is not about the quick absorption of information but the deeply intimate engagement with a piece.]
I imagine, like most things in life, the answer is somewhere in the middle. Or both.
So I’m learning how to adapt, how to not be so dismissive and hypocritical.
The idea that there’s one type of writing that benefits readers best is silly (and counterproductive to everyone involved).
Then again, as a “content creator,” I’m inevitably impacted by what gains mainstream attention, because I want to be effective at what I do.
Which can distract from what I truly long for when I choose to offer my thoughts to the public: that someone’s life will be incrementally better off for it. That’s my ideal definition of “effective.”
Consistency > Perfection
For what feels like the first time, I’m giving myself permission to present my writing publicly with consistency, with the understanding that it will often be far from perfect (and perhaps sometimes even bad).
I’m giving myself the go ahead to write things that feel awkward and cheesy, like listicles, to try to them out and experiment with them. To explore what I can offer through different formats. (And to practice being less of a pretentious douchebag.)
I’m even doing things like researching how to write better headlines (that aren’t clickbait-y).
And I’m talking myself into using an image in every piece, because I know that it “matters.” (Even if I do resent the work of finding a stock image that feels remotely applicable to the subject matter at hand.)
But feck, making concessions means checking my ego around who I am as an “artist” and “writer.”
Because I understand it’s worthwhile to try different approaches, to give myself permission to do many of the things I’ve often judged.
Cause I’ve found growth often happens in the places I’ve previously refused (or weren’t ready) to explore.
So let’s take a flashlight and poke around, shall we?
Much love and appreciation to you for making it this far. ❤ ❤ ❤