Generally speaking, it’s poor form to tell someone how to do something you haven’t done yourself.
For instance, I would never dream of sneaking into a medical school and teaching a class on colonoscopies. I have no idea how to insert a camera into someone’s anus and wiggle it around their large intestine. It would be very poor form, indeed, if I were to do that.
But this is the Internet not medical school; when has form ever mattered? Telling people how to do things you’ve never actually done is pretty much that status quo. So although I’ve never been an A-List Blogger, I feel confident that I can teach you how to become one by the end of this Scroll.
It’s really very simple.
All you have to do to become an A-List Blogger is be somebody that other people wish they could be.
That’s it. That’s all you have to do.
“What about writing?” you ask. “Don’t you have to be a great writer?”
No. You don’t. Spelling and basic grammar will help you out, but blogs aren’t about poetry or lyrical prose. That’s why they’re called blogs. Blahgs. Blaghahahahgs. Blobs, I once called them and it caught on for a few weeks. Nothing called a blog can be pretty.
Blogs are about information. And information doesn’t have to be pretty, it just has to be clear. “It” being how awesome your life is.
I’m not making this shit up. Think about all the bloggers you know who have readerships the size of small big cities and who genuinely make a living off the money those readers give them for e-books with lots of white space between the very simple lines.
I used to want to be Everett Bogue. Back in the fall of 2010 when Far Beyond the Stars was alive and well. I was sitting at work one day, surfing the net for things to read while I pretended to work, and I came across this scruffy guy with shaggy hair who didn’t have to work anymore because he sold e-books online. I wanted his life. So I became a minimalist and started a blog and continued to be scruffy and have shaggy hair. I quit my job. Stupidest thing I ever did. I’m still paying for that mistake a year later financially. I was doing fine. Paying my bills. Digging out of debt. Up for a small raise. But I quit because I didn’t want to live my life; I wanted to live his.
This is the reason any blogger gets famous. They know how to make their life look better than yours. Ev Bogue would say this flat out. Still does. His Upgraded Minimalist Business guide is not for you if you “want to move to a suburb and get a mini-van.” All the cool kids are living out of bags, working from cafes anywhere in the world. If you’re not doing that, you’re not really living.
I’m not trying to pick on Ev in particular. I’m just being honest about the reason I started blogging. His spiel was convincing. He made his life look a thousand times better than mine. And I’m not judging him for it because that’s what bloggers do. That’s the work. When they ask you if you’re “doing the work” that’s what they’re talking about. Are you making your life look better than anyone else’s?
Are you somebody that strangers want to be?
You might be. It isn’t that hard to do considering how difficult daily life is for most people on this planet. Tell people you’re always Zen. Tell them you have time to do Yoga every day. Tell them you have a really organized desk. Tell them you don’t anything you can’t carry in a bag. Tell them you travel the world. Anything looks better than the life most people are living.
The Bible says thou shall not covet, but the Bloggers say “Yes, you shall. Otherwise we’ll have to go back to working minimum wage like you.”
Even minimalism – which purports to be about being happy with what you already have – plants these seeds of jealousy in the reader’s minds. But rather than things, they covet the lifestyle. They covet the freedom implied in living out of a bag. That was me. A year later, I regret my fling with minimalism. I miss a lot of the things I let go. Because I did it for the wrong reasons. Because I did it so I could feel like I was as cool and free as somebody else.
I paid $99 during a 72 hour Sale for a bunch of e-books that would teach me how to be a businessman. But I never wanted to be a businessman and I never read the books. I made it a couple of pages into Guillebeau’s guide before I fell asleep. I’m not saying it’s bad. I’m just saying it wasn’t for me. I don’t care about that stuff. I didn’t then, but I thought I had to if I wanted to be like them. And I wanted to be like them because they were better than me. They told me so all the time. “Quit your stupid job and work online like us! Be cool!”
I once went to an Art of Non-Conformity Meet-up where all I could do was laugh at all the people trying to be like each other. I don’t mean that in a mean way because I was there trying to be like them too. I just mean it was literally fucking hilarious. “You’re going to Chang Mai? Me too!” “Me too!” “Me too!” Everyone was trying so hard to be like somebody else they read about online that they had all become the same. I couldn’t tell anyone apart. Someone asked me if I was Everett Bogue. I might as well have said yes. I certainly wasn’t me.
A lot of A-List Bloggers out there will tell you that the secret to success is just being yourself. Of course, they tell you that! Because they need you to think that they’re just being themselves so you’ll want to be like them! That’s how they make their money! Their voice is saying “Be yourself” but if you read their lips they’re saying “Try to be like me!” Your desire to do so is their bread and butter, baby. There’s no way around it. Inciting you to covet is the great and noble work.
If you can incite people to covet your life, you will most likely make it big.
But if you can’t, you will most likely fail.
If people read about you and think “Oh, this person is just like me right now!” instead of “Oh! This person is everything I dream of being!” then you are most likely going to fail. If your only goal is to create an A-List Blog, that is. But if you want to make new friends, you’ll probably succeed. If you want to develop your craft as a writer by sharing your words with the public, then you’ll probably succeed. If you want to touch people through your stories, then you’ll probably succeed.
You’ll probably never make a shit-ton of money or have enough subscribers to brag about it on your front page. But you’ll probably succeed.