11 Reasons You Should Stop Reading Clickbait Articles (Number 3 will make you shit your pants)

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Clickbait is still a thing.  So many blogs and news websites I visit have that hideous column that re-uses the same photo-shopped pictures and ridiculous headlines.  And do you know what that tells me?  It works.  People are clicking on that crap and these websites are somehow making money off of it.  There are so many people putting their heart and soul into adding valuable content to the internet, and you would rather look at the worst the internet has to offer.  Shame on you.

1.  The content rarely lives up to the title.

2.  It’s all crap you’ve seen before

3.  They make empty promises (Notice the lack of feces in your pants)

4.  The lists are often repetitive

5.  If the article had a normal title you probably wouldn’t read it

6.  A lot of times there are identical items listed twice

7.   If you keep clicking on it, they’ll keep making it, and the madness will never stop

8.  You would be embarrassed if your boss walked in and saw you reading that tripe

9.  They are often redundant

10.  I asked you nicely.  That should be enough

11.  You seriously don’t have anything better to do?  What is wrong with you?

Inspiration Overload

Even as I attempt to write a blog post, I am reminded of the symptoms of my self-diagnosed combined ADHD.  There is a lot I would like share on this subject (maybe even too much) and sometimes I find it hard to get my ideas to stand in line and wait their turn.

I imagine that in my mind there are two rooms, one where ideas are born, and the other where they are processed into something that can be seen and understood by the outside world.  Between these two rooms there is a door.  For the most part, the ideas are content to stay in the first room.  They don’t even seem to notice the door, never-mind the world the lies beyond.

Oh, but if one of them happens to catch a glimpse, they all rush for the door at once, pushing and clawing, trying to force their way through.  It feels like a power-surge of inspiration, but If I am not prepared, it can end in disappointment, and frustration.  You see, only one idea can fit through the door at a time, and all the time they are struggling to be the one chosen idea, they are also growing.  My mind is filled with so many thoughts going in different directions it feels like Grand Central Station.  In desperation, I grab the idea that looks most promising, shove the others back, slam the door shut, and lock it; hoping I have made the right choice.  Other times, If I happen to have a pen and paper handy, I will write down as many of the ideas as possible, and start working on them one at a time.  If an idea isn’t thoroughly processed (or written down) in a timely manner, there is no telling if or when it will return.

Help Yourself First

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I want to help people.  I want to make a difference.  My goal with this blog is to create content that encourages people, motivates them, makes them think, and reminds them of what is really important.

In my estimation, there are two main steps in writing this kind of material, and I have all but ignored the first.

Step 1:  Change Your Own Life

This is not to say I haven’t been trying.  Every day I strive to become a better father, a better husband, and a better person.  I work on quitting bad habits, eating healthy, being happy, and staying organized.  I have made vast improvements, but I am still on the first leg of my journey.

How can I be so bold as to say “This is what you must do to be happy” or “This is what you must do to have good relationships” when my own life is in shambles, and my relationships are unsteady at best?  I may very well be speaking the truth, but only as a spectator.  I might be giving good advice, but if I have not fully experienced the change in my own life, how can I speak it with confidence and authority?

So, going forward, I will be focused on my own continued improvement, until I reach a point when I am comfortable taking on Step Two (Using What You Have Learned To Help Others)

Plan Of Action

  1. Evaluate my current situation
  2. Find out what’s working, and what’s not
  3. Make a list of negative habits (over-eating sweets, losing my temper, spending too much time on social media, et cetera)
  4. Make a list of positive habits (Eating fruits and vegetables, meditating, exercising, and so forth)
  5. Choose one habit each month to work on, until I run out of habits, and thus become superhuman
  6. Save the world (or something)

Accountability

I have found that accountability is a very strong motivator for me.  So (whether you like it or not) you all are now officially a part of my accountability team.  Help me stay on track, and don’t be afraid to tell me when I am going astray.

I am probably breaking blogger etiquette by doing this, but if you made it through this post, and you’re willing to help me out, go ahead and leave me a comment or a “Like,”  just so I know I have your support.  I promise I’ll never ask again.

Thanks for reading.

Live in the moment, be happy with what you have, and CLICK ON THIS AD!

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There are over 152,000,000 blogs out there, with more popping up every day.  Many of these are filled with amazing content, produced by phenomenal people who enjoy sharing their passion.  But can we admit, that many of us have dreamed of blogging not just for our passion, but for a living?  of turning our little ideas into a big check? Honestly most of us would settle for turning our big ideas into a little check!  So, we look around the internet, trying to find different ways to monetize on our blogs.  Pay-Per-Click Ads, Affiliate Ads, In-Text Ads, Confusing Ads, links to articles that are really ads.

It puzzles me, when I go to read an article about minimalism, or anti-consumerism, and the page is chock full of ads!  “Live in the moment, be happy with what you have, and CLICK ON THIS AD!”  Trying to make a living doing what you love is commendable, but there has to be a different way.  Now I believe that most of us bloggers have good intentions.  We aren’t trying to fleece anyone.  We would just like to quit our day job so we could spend more time creating awesome content.  That’s what the people want, isn’t it?  That’s what the world needs, right?

eBooks

So, we will remove the ads, creating a more comfortable environment for our readers, and our conscience.  But where do we get the money?  That’s it!  we can write eBooks!  152,000,000 eBooks…So now we not only need to convince people to come and read our blogs, maybe even subscribe, but also to buy our eBooks (which somehow have got to be better than the free content we have already been struggling to create during our “free time”)  Okay, I don’t know if this option is going to work either.

Put Out Your Hand

The best option that I can see, is a virtual tip jar.  I have been noticing these more and more, and I really like the idea behind it.  You like a post, you leave a tip.  After all, blogging is an art form, just like that guy on the corner playing that old beat-up saxophone.  He’s pretty good.  give him a couple bucks.  Ah, that felt nice, didn’t it?  I don’t know if these virtual tip jars actually work, not having one myself, but I know it is definitely a better option than selling your soul to the advertising companies.

If anyone has any other ideas, I have already drafted my letter of resignation for my 9 to 5, and I am itching to print it off.

50 Steps to Achieving All My Goals (Part 1)

I have a lot of goals:  Eat right, exercise regularly, have a clean organized home, be a good parent, work less, make more money, and be a better husband, among other things.  Here is the step-by-step process I have been using to accomplish those goals.

  1. Read several articles about self improvement
  2. Fantasize about actually following through with the plan outlined in those articles
  3. Read two more articles
  4. Forget what I read in the first few articles
  5. Start a blog without a clear direction, I just know I want to make money
  6. Have a cup of coffee
  7. Feel inadequate
  8. Eat junk food to make me feel better
  9. Check blog stats
  10. Wonder why I even try
  11. Yell at the wife and kids
  12. Read an article from Psychology Today to figure out why I act this way
  13. Pour over blog stats at work.  Instead of working.
  14. Try to find the article I read the first day, cause I know the answer is in there somewhere
  15. Start another blog
  16. Determine to do better
  17. Read more articles
  18. Finally find the answer to all my problems
  19. Have a few candy bars
  20. Check my blog stats while I am supposed to be playing with the kids
  21. Run around the house absentmindedly, leaving drawers and cabinets opened, and a trail of candy wrappers/dirty dishes
  22. Check blog stats
  23. Worry about how messy the house is, how I am failing at work, and failing as a husband and father
  24. Wallow in self pity
  25. Check blog stats (I got a new follower!  Hope is restored!)
  26. It was just a company trying to sell me something
  27. More Coffee
  28. Start a blog post, don’t have time to finish it, post it and call it “Part 1” and never make a part two

Update:  29.  Come back the next day and remove careless errors I was too lazy to look for.  There are probably more I missed.

 

Writing Rule Number 2

For those of you who are Chronologically Inclined, here is the first post in this series: The Number One Writing Rule

I really enjoy writing.  It is a great way to relieve stress, gather my thoughts, and express myself.  But the feeling I get when I know that my writing has benefited another person or (dare I say it?) several people, it borders on ecstasy.  I know I am not the only one, because there are quite literally a bazillion articles on the internet with titles like, “How To Improve Your Writing” or “Three Things To Avoid When Writing” and “237 Rules You Must Follow When Making a Blog Post”

So, what rule is so important that it landed the Number 2 spot?

Writing Rule #2: Break the rules.  Don’t just break them, smash them.  Obliterate them.  (This doesn’t just apply to writing, but to to any creative act.  In fact, it applies to all of life.)

There are a lot of good people out there with good, even phenomenal advice.  There are people who know how to get followers, and likes, and up-votes, page-views, and comments.  They know the right way to write a post, and they know the wrong way.  Most of the time, it is a good idea to follow their advice.  It can be a very helpful tool to improve your writing.

All those rules though, can make for a nerve-wracking experience.  Am I posting at the right time of day?  Am I including enough keywords for SEO?  Do I have enough line breaks?  Is this post too long, too short, too whiny, too off-topic, too personal?  When we become a slave to rules, the art of writing is lost.

To me, it seems silly to apply rules just for rules’ sake.  A question I ask myself when writing is, “Does applying this rule add value to my post?” If it does, great.  If not, I rebel.  So bend ’em, break ’em, or side-step ’em.  Please, just don’t follow ’em.  At least not all the time.  (And remember, that includes Rule Number 2)

What writing rules do you follow?  Which ones do you break?

The Number One Writing Rule

I have been writing as a hobby for some time, and I enjoy it immensely.  I also enjoy having an audience with which I can interact, and exchange ideas.  (And, while I hate to admit it,  I love seeing the page-view-ometer spike from time to time) I have felt the joy of creating very successful posts, which resonate with people, and help them along their journey, and I have also felt the despair of posting utter rubbish, that causes readers to question my cognitive ability.

(Spoiler Alert:  The rule is to be yourself.  This can also be applied to any other area of your life, with amazing results)

More often than not, the more relateable works are the ones that come from the heart.  They start with an exciting idea that I can’t wait to write about, my fingers fly across the keyboard in a flourish, and the end result is something beautiful, something real, and something meaningful.

Conversely, the drab writings usually happen when I need to produce something.  for example, if I have been posting every weekday on my blog for the past month (which never happens, but hey, it’s a hypothetical, so just relax, okay?) and I happen to have a day where I am lacking inspiration, I may try to force myself to write, for the sake of the blog.  (I mean, my three loyal readers are expecting it after all, and what will it do to my SEO if I don’t regularly post new content?) In this situation, my motive is impure, and it shows plainly through in the finished product.

The other fatal error which I habitually make is creating content based on what I think people want to read.  As well intentioned as this seems, it is actually quite misguided.  I hardly know myself.  How can I even pretend to know what other people want to hear.  Additionally, if you are only posting something because it is what your audience wants to hear, they won’t want to hear it.  What people want is authenticity.  They want something genuine (well I guess I do know what people want after all, go figure)

So, what is the solution? 

Be yourself.  Create content based on what you love, and what you are passionate about.  Odds are, there are many people out there who share your values and your ideas, and operate on the same wavelength.

Expose yourself to your passion.  If you spend all of your time writing in isolation, your writing is going to be flat.  Read about your passion, follow blogs that are similar to yours, if your passion is music, go to a concert.  If it is tennis, go to a match.  If it is human waste management, visit the Sublah International Museum of Toilets. 

Take a break.  Refuel, recharge, take a week off.  Its okay.  Jot down any ideas that come to mind, and when you come back, you we be refreshed and ready to go.

Relax.  It is going to be okay.  You are going to create something fantastic, and people will love it.  and if you are truly passionate about it, your time will never be wasted.  So, relax.

It is important to note that this method can be applied to any aspect of your life.  Be yourself, Live your passion, and relax.