November 17, 2020

"Be Interesting"

Public post from my Patreon

In a little folder in my email, I have ~200 messages focused on teaching authors how to communicate effectively with their audience, primarily through newsletters, but basically they're all about how to create content that reaches through the messy mass we're all trying to avoid and actually has an impact. Because reaching an audience is part of the business of being an author, and I do try to learn and improve. 

The most recent of these expert emails included the groundbreaking tip in this post's title: Be interesting. 

Who knew the trick to writing good, engaging content (whether for blogs, patreons, or newsletters), boiled down to such a simple thing? All I have to do is be interesting! 

Too bad this has very little meaning. What's interesting? To whom? When? How often? (This is where nailing your target audience comes in.) But even if you know your audience pretty well, "interesting" is still a relative, fluctuating concept. Influencers, perhaps, have this figured out. A little while ago I read that if you weren't an influencer 3 years ago, it's too late to try. Frankly, if that's true, it's almost a relief. I'm an author, not an influencer, and being "interesting" isn't my main goal. 

Freshman year of college, one of my professors pointed out that calling a story "interesting" is entirely meaningless, partially because while it should mean that you found the story engaging, it most often means, "I have no idea what to say or have formed a slightly negative opinion but don't want to be offensive/confrontational, so I'll call it interesting." 

So, goodness forbid folks find my real work "interesting." I'd almost rather people hated it—at least that would mean it had some kind of impact. (Though I assume if you hated my work, you wouldn't be here...) But wanting my work to have an impact does mean reaching an audience. 

And that means, apparently, I have to learn to be interesting. So, wish me luck... 

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