I don’t really know if you are a successful professional writer or not. But this post is meant for the amateur writer, who has submitted her content to online and offline entities, and always tasted failure. There can be a reason why your article fails. People try to exaggerate this reason too much, but the basic thing can be quite simple.
Let me start with a story. You all know Stephen King is a huge writer, famous world over and highly talented. I started reading Steve some years ago. One of the first works of Steve I read was not his best or even one of the best, but one of the worst according to even him. He has quoted once that Pet Sematary was his worst work by far, and the most illogical. Still it happened to be the first King work that I read.
The reason behind this was the synopsis of the novel I read. It told about a cemetery of pets created by local children to house the corpses of their pets; and the obvious spelling error, ‘Sematary’ reveals small children are involved. And very nearby this Pet Sematary, in the woods, there is another cemetery, which has a dark secret. I don’t remember one bit of the story now, but this was the short synopsis I found about it. The characters and other points in the synopsis themselves are forgotten already.
However, the gist of the synopsis remained in my mind and continued to enrage my curiosity. Everyday I wanted to know what that dark secret of the second cemetery was. The synopsis was itself mysterious and eerie. The horror of innocuousness, I call it. Horror of a pet cemetery. A pet cemetery—very innocuous—what can it hold? It is just like the clown of It, a King classic. The horror-inspiring secret hidden by Sematary was beguiling me.
And at last I sat down and read this novel. It was just an okay read. The worst of King are better than the best of many authors.
Now, to the task at hand. Why writers fail? The one thing that makes me read an article or a short story is the title. Let me concentrate on articles in this post, short stories will be addressed in later posts.
When I find an alluring title like “How to make 20,000,000 dollars in a year by doing home-based work!” I tend to pay my attention to it, just like anybody. I may then take time to read it. No matter what crap I find in the first few paragraphs, I may read it on until the end or until I find if it is worthy or not.
What I look for is how I can “earn 20,000,000 per year?” What are the ways to do that, and if I can do it or not, because I really like earning that kind of sum each year, year after year.
So, that’s one thing. Title. I believe everyone is capable of creating alluring titles that capture readers. No problem there. Problem is in the content.
As I said, I read it until I find if it is valuable or not. So, the fact is simply, if you have done proper research on what you are writing about and have given practical suggestions that give something valuable to the readers.
If you found the content to be different from the title, would you read it further? Obviously not. You will not read anything when the first few paragraphs themselves make it clear to you that you are not in for what you thought. People tend to be distracted when what they read does not point to what it promised.
So, here is the second most important thing: when you have a title (which is presumably your aim), have your content justify it. Have your content be full of practical suggestions as to how to achieve that aim. This all depends on the aim you have. If your aim is a how-to article, then after reading it the reader should be able to do what is promised. If it is introductory piece, the reader should get a good idea of what it is about. If it is a review of a particular item or service, the reader should get a good idea of the pros and cons of that item or service, and thereby make their decision on it.
When I write something, I try to keep an aim and an opinion in mind. When you have an aim, you can argue your way toward the claim you wish to make. This is quite easy for you. When you are betraying to your readers by stating something on the title and telling them useless crap, then they cannot continue (neither can you as a writer).
If your title is about a unique way to cook meat, and you just give a recipe that everyone knows, then who will stick to it? But if you have a totally different recipe and an original idea, then you will be read and reviewed. Otherwise, the user tends to doze off right then and there, if she didn’t navigate away.
So, stick to what you have in hand. Rule number three is you cannot attract everyone to your articles anyway. “How to make 2000 dollars in 20 minutes” doesn’t attract Bill Gates, John Chow, or Sergei Brinn to read further. It attracts me and some of my ordinary friends. And when I see the link, and read the content, if the author tells like, “Tip 1. Marry the beautiful daughter of a multimillionaire, you can get more than what’s promised on the title,” then I may stay up to the second or the third tip only. When they both prove to be worthless, I will drop and just unsubscribe from that blog. However, Bill Gates or Arnold Schwarzenegger may find it quite funny and read further, and even recommend it to their buddies.
So, simple and most important thing is you can’t just target everyone to read the article you write. There are certain people who will read what you write. They will be interested in your tips, wait for your upcoming articles, and give you credits for it. And if you give them nothing of importance, you will be read until the start of the second paragraph and will never be read again.
These tips are besides your grammar and punctuation and other related aspects. For you to be a writer, you need them anyway. But becoming a read writer is more a talent than grammar, punctuation, and style.
How to write what your reader will read?
This is the most important section of the article. How to write what the readers will find amusing. It is simple actually for the hard workers. They will just do the most meticulous research online or offline and find out what is right, what is wrong, advantages, disadvantages, and do’s and don’ts. Once they have exhaustive information of what they are about, they can just go about creating content without any problem.
So, you cannot simply be a good writer without doing hard work and a lot of thinking. Think hard and work hard, only then you will get what you want.
Copyright © Lenin Nair 2008