From the poor advice of the inexperienced to the recommended videos, there are many lies forced upon writers. The fact is, we have all been recommended those make-six-digits-a-year videos and articles. We are tired of falling for those traps. If you have just started writing, here is the difference between clickbait and information.
False Fortune Fakery
The first is the most obvious form of click-bait. It is a tactic used everywhere, not only in writing. The headlines ask you to believe their first line as fact and read through the slew of vague advice, finally capped off with an empty statement.
“How I Made $734,000 from Writing”
The next few paragraphs consist of a blogger stating the obvious, but lacking any economical information. How do they market their work? How much do they spend on ads? Who do they work with and why? Can you prove you made this much?
Valuable information, yet all they provide is a list of five tips, most of which everyone and their dog knows.
“The first step to making money from writing is to write. It is how I pay my bills and how you can pay yours etc.”
These articles and videos have been duplicated on every platform available, yet the ones with actual substance are as rare as wealthy writers. The fact of the matter is, a writer who makes six-digits a year is living the dream. These are the writers who wrote a best-selling book and if they are truly interested in writing, they working on writing the next.
Secrets of a Senseless Scrambling Scribbler
The next false headlines you might come across are the ones who believe they have found the Holy Grail of writing advice or they are just idiots.
“36 Secret Writing Methods that Will Blow Your Mind to Smithereens! Shh!”
There are uncommon writing techniques, usually uncommon for a reason. These are writing methods that fit a different style or genre, but they aren’t anything new. As a writer you no doubt remember what a metaphor is, so why is this blogger trying to pass it off as ancient knowledge carved on the walls of a hidden Mayan temple?
It isn't a secret, it isn’t new. It is all well-and-good to bring method to other writers, stating their benefits. In fact, this is a way that is both informative and helpful. Yet, if you tell a writer that this method is a secret, hush-hush, never-used-before advice, then you are lying to them.
Writers are pretty sick and tired of seeing this one on their feed. These articles usually have a few nuggets of wisdom or helpful advice, but the title suggest something else. In addition to that, using ‘secret’ as a buzz-word to catch the internet's attention won’t work.
Why use click-bait that doesn’t work anymore? These are bloggers who not only saw the saturated market of bad click-bait, but felt that it was an excellent path to walk. If you know the blogger provides great info, by all means forgive the poor headline and read away, but if you don’t know them don’t spare them a second glance.
Nobodies Name Names, You Ninny
Another click-bait title we have all come across, although in different varieties. It of course depends on which names are trending this week, but these are the articles who use the fame of other writers to market their weekly article.
“Earnest Hemingway’s Top Writing Tips!”
These articles are good for one thing and that is to have a laugh. Normally the people writing them did some minor research into the writer in question, perhaps read one of their books if they are truly dedicated. Yet, it is more than likely that they came across another article with a similar name and just jumped onto the bandwagon.
Usually these articles have little substance, not too different from those promising fortune.
“Earnest Hemingway wrote a lot of books, so tip number one; write!”
The blogger will throw vague or general advice at you with little-to-no connection to the author in question. Others will go a step further and find quotes of the authors, dead or alive, and create a writing tip.
“Hemingway said you must try to surpass your past self, which means you must write a better book than your last one!”
Advice like this doesn’t hold up. It is a ‘motivational’ statement thrown at you like a clod of wet paper towel to see if it sticks or not. There is no merit in using someone else's name to promote poor advice, there is no respect if they person is deceased. These are shameless articles that very seldom give you something unique or informative.
Living a Literal Life of Literature
The next headlines are more sentimental than education. Yet, these articles will still title their article in a way that makes it seem educational, which is the problem. While I can abide by articles which discuss how writing has done them so much good personally, when they write an article surrounding a single, vague piece of advice I realize that is click-bait.
“How Writing 1000 Words Every Day Changed My Life”
These articles discuss the obvious effects of their advice, but to pad the article it goes into the specific personal changes it had on them. These are not the worst articles you can read, especially if you are familiar with the writer. Yet, more often than not, you will be reading a copy-paste article.
It is a powerful headline, which is why it is used so often. The top articles on Medium for example make use of this click-bait, but the articles themselves have the same content. It works for a blogger trying to score a few extra views, but for a genuinely interested writer looking to learn, it is an article that only wastes time.
For many writers starting out, these are the headlines that warn you that the article or video is a trap. Simple click-bait to fit the trend, but as for substance, there is almost nothing.
Read the unique articles, as these are the articles which have had effort put into them, thus more useful information will be provided.
I hope you enjoyed this article and as always…
Good day, goodnight and happy writing!
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Matthew Dewey, Writer
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