I began reading this article on writing and publishing things online. It begins with some good advice:
Please, if you ever want anyone to read your work or become a successful writer in the commercial sense, let this next sentence sink deep beneath your skull and into the core of your being:
Your blog is not your personal journal.
If you want to document your personal life online, that’s fine, but don’t expect it to resonate with other people.
Yes, you need to tell stories. Yes, you need to share your personality. But if you make it all about you, nobody will care.
Okay, fair enough. Except… what do I see coming in the very next paragraph?
The same can be said for the topics you write about. There’s an audience for many types of writing, but don’t be shocked if people aren’t racing to read your underground heavy metal band review blog (this is an actual blog I’ve come across).
Okay, fucking hold up here. In what way is a review blog of obscure metal bands anything like a personal journal? How would a quick rundown of, say, a cassette released by some grindcore band from Brazil be equivalent to an awkward confession about your porn addiction, which is what the writer gives as an example of an overly personal and pointless thing to write about? (Yeah, yeah, you can probably write a joke about that, but I’m avoiding it.) I can practically smell the condescension through my desktop monitor. “Oh my god, can you believe that someone took the time to write actual reviews on a bunch of people who just scream instead of sing and they’re not even well known?” Well, yeah, I can imagine that. And I’m happy that that stuff exists.
There are those who do appreciate having somewhere to read up on their favourite new bands who are resolutely not pop / big-room-EDM / ukelele-based-advert-music. There are also those who read such blogs in the hope of finding out something new in their genre of choice. Nobody who writes these things is under the impression that they’re going to have a million readers by the end of the month, they do it as a service to people who aren’t interested in music that is deemed acceptable by the criteria of wankers. And I say all this as someone who isn’t the hugest expert on metal or anything, but does respect the genre and happens to enjoy some of it. It may be far from “commercial writing”, but it provides a valuable service to some.
I’ll end this by pointing out that the second quote above contradicts something that comes a bit later in that same post:
Share what you know about a certain subject people want to learn about.
I don’t think I need to spell it out any more at this point.