I feel your pain.
It’s just so tough and stressful being a successful writer, whose words are loved and adored by all.
Each day you log on to check your numbers, to see that overnight, enthusiastic hordes of readers have once again viewed, read, recommended, shared and responded with glowing praise for your work. Everyone loves you.
It must be exhausting and boring.
Do you wish for some anonymity? Some peace and quiet? A chance to write for you?
Well, I’m here to help.
Follow these easy steps and no one will ever read anything you write again (except for your mom).
Note: If you are already happily a writer whom no one reads, keep up the good work.
Step #1: Your Motivation
I’m sure that currently you are writing to “save the world” and “help your fellow humans” and “make others’ hearts swell”, well, it’s time to change that.
Adopt one or all of these new sources of motivation
To get back at your parents
To air your dirty laundry (all photos should be 1400px)
To work through your neuroses
As a big FU to all of the haters
Yes, people may initially be interested in reading all about how truly messed up you are — sort of like watching a trainwreck — but quickly the readers will all move on to someone they can relate to in a positive way.
Step #2: Your Topic/Title
If you are a big success, you have been finding topics that people actually care about and will click on amidst the sea of articles available online.
Hard to unlearn that, but try these suggestions!
Avoid any subjects that are in anyway topical or news (i.e. Beyoncé, Impeaches, Trump) or sensationalist fake news (i.e. Beyonce impeaches Trump) — if that is too hard and you must write on the news, find items that have already been discussed to the point where every is sick and tired of the topic, but don’t choose ones that people really despise, as you may inadvertently gain lots of “hate reads”.
Select subjects that are boring, outdated and obscure (good examples: Watching Paint Dry for Seniors, Living With Ingrown Toenails, Reasons to Vote for Lincoln), but not so obscure that it motivates people to do some research which may cause your article to trend.
Never use keywords that may catch potential readers’ eyes, for example “best”, “successful”, “sex”, and “money” — and yes, definitely do not write about the best and most successful sex you had for money.
Now is also not the time to be controversial as the next thing you know, you’ll wake up and have gone viral. So, do not write pieces such as “The Lighter Side of Hitler”, “Eating Dolphins for Success” and “The 20 Best Reasons to Spank Your Frustrating Children” as you will only gain readers (and haters).
Not that you aim for clickbait currently, but you must now go out of your way to only use the most banal, nondescript, monosyllabic words available but also never use all caps, multiple exclamation points or swear words in your title.
Step #3: Your Style
Your words flow gracefully on the page or sound professional and academic. You are articulate, funny and poetic. No more!
Having to use proper grammar, spelling and punctuation sucks and, who knew, but readers actually love when writers do that, so, you guessed it, no longer — you are finally free!
The following are now your best friends — sentences that at first glance seem to have a point but frustratingly never do, excessive use of commas leading to monstrously long run-on sentences, confusing asides in parentheses in the middle of sentences making the text really hard to follow and tons of footnotes (I suggest 1/2 to 2/3 of the piece be footnotes).
And long gone are the days where you used to care about those little red lines under words as you edit, as are the days when you gave a hoot about any and all subject/predicate or present tense/past tense rules, as is the need to adopt one style for piece of writing for consistency’s sake — I suggest a poem/letter/essay/op ed that attempts to be touching, satirical, smart and at a level a small child can enjoy all at the same time — enjoy!
Step #4: Your Cover Picture
In an effort to get read, we are all searching for interesting, cool and provocative images that attract the eye.
Now, in your new effort to drive people far away, you must do the following
Avoid bright, colourful images that look “happy” or “inviting” or “yummy”.
While black and white may seem like a great idea, remember not to choose an image that is artistic or meaningful or avant garde.
Ignore all size recommendations — I suggest either finding the largest images available so that they are very blurry or the smallest ones possible.
To reduce your readership, remember to never use the following kinds of images: cute (including puppy dogs, human babies and any and all puppy dog/baby combo pics), funny (including intentionally hilarious, accidentally hilarious and those that are somehow both) or pornographic (including food porn, sports porn and, for those weirdos out there, math porn).
Step #5: Your Content
You’ve become a success because you’ve been able to tell stories that appeal to a wider audience. Now, you must do the opposite. I know it sounds hard, but you can do — I believe in you.
Regardless of your title, don’t actually discuss anything. Think “does this make sense?” or “is this interesting?” or “am I proud of this?” and if the answer to any is “yes”, then delete the draft and start again.
Remember to make all paragraphs oddball collections of confusing sentences that end up hurting other people’s brains if they attempt to make sense of them. It also doesn’t hurt to use the smallest font you can.
Use tons and tons of inside jokes, made up words, purposely inflammatory statements and threats to “get” anyone who reads this.
Your writing is a great time to write the most embarrassingly emotional, yet infinitely juvenile, personal essays/poems you can.
Step #6: The Length
If you are anything like me, you are constantly ensuring you are not going on and on and boring your readers. Guess what? Bore away!
I’m sure you may have read about optimal lengths of pieces and have been adhering to this, but now the door is figuratively off the barn and the cows are in the garden.
Stretch your legs and enjoy a long walk, by which I mean, go ahead and write the 25 minute long opus on tear ducts that you’d been meaning to publish.
Stop any and all editing immediately! Literally throw away the delete and backspace buttons from your keyboard and stop listening to the voice in your head saying “do you think it’s too long?” unless that voice is talking about food, because as we all know, no food is too long.
Feel free to repeat yourself again and again! Don’t be afraid of using filler as filling space is the goal. I suggest seeing just how small you can make that scroll bar on the right! 1/256th of an inch, anyone?
Conversely, now is also a great time to delve into the wonderful world of single word stories. Like the same word again and again and again.
Step #7: Sharing
So, you’ve now finished your epic, inane opus and now what? This is a tricky one, as sharing your work only gets the word out there, which leads to readers, which leads you away from our goal, so tread lightly and by no means use any hashtags anywhere.
I suggest either not sharing and hoping that you’ve played your cards correctly and that your piece disappears into the vastness of the internet as you hope or share with the hope that it is so bad and offensive that it may lead to a boycott of your work and an exodus from your loyal followers.