No one is gonna read this all the way through.
I’m deeply saddened by the amount of thoughtful, “high quality” stories that go unread on Medium every single day. I see it all the time.
Look, there it is now.
Another 8-minute story full of sound grammar, spectacular punctuation, and very good intentions — topped with a captivating title too! Just look at it and marvel at all the hard work, while you subsequently skip the part where you actually read it.
No one’s reading this story all the way through.
Knowing / understanding how life works is not entertaining.
Before you start a “fuck this guy” chant, hear me out.
Medium markets itself as a place to share meaningful stories—I understand why so many are drawn to write stories of new-found improvement and contentment in the form of “Life Lessons.” It makes perfect sense, it really does. But I’m sorry, I can’t read another long-ass article about your basic understanding of basic human nature.
We get it.
Life isn’t easy. We doubt ourselves. Mistakes are opportunities to learn. We need to rise to the occasion and be consistent. If we want to be successful, extraordinary, entrepreneurial, we must apply ourselves and be positive and always make the right choices. Don’t let fear hold you back.
Did you even read that?
Thanks, but no thanks. I don’t need another generic take on self-improvement and how you used to think one way, but then you changed your attitude and now you think this way, which is somehow unequivocally better. I don’t need another Ted Talk. I definitely don’t need 10 more tips on how to focus on thriving while attaining goals and a better mindset in 2019.
These stories just come off monotonous and lazy, especially to anyone who’s spent more than two months on this platform.
I empathize with these writers though.
There was a time in my writing when I used to speak of plodding realizations all the time, too. I found validity in my ability to articulate my feelings and discoveries openly, despite how disappointingly obvious they were.
We all want to seem competent and virtuous, right? Well, what better way to do so than with a story about how life is shitty and hard, but you thought about it positively, and now life is less shitty and hard?
I think it’s just a phase writers go through. After all, that’s why a lot of people start writing in the first place—to show their perspective on life’s universal lessons.
But it’s super easy to see through the bullshit. You can tell right away when someone’s purporting the same humdrum blanket-speech of every other stereotypical “Life Lesson” story.
Believe in yourself! Take action! Be responsible! Write a plan! Focus your energy! Develop good habits! Change your life! Shoot me in the fucking face!
I’m not saying these messages are wrong.
I’m saying they are boring and insincere.
In other words, by regurgitating the same old platitudes in the same old fashion, you are not motivating or inspiring anyone to do anything besides bounce out of your lame, conventionalized, pseudo-psychology excuse of a story.
What should you do instead?
If you’re a “mindset/productivity guru,” that mostly sucks, but there’s still hope for you. My advice? Don’t beat a dead horse (it’s dead for a reason).
First off, be original. If you can’t be original, then pick a different topic.
Next, please, please, please illustrate your lesson through a real-world experience. Give examples. Show, don’t tell. Use an analogy!? Do something to give the story a personal spin. (We are begging you!)
People are constantly trying to relate messages to their own life.
When you provide something relatable, thoughtful, and unique, that’s when it’ll strike a chord — maybe then they’ll read all the way through.