Giving Your Audience Something To Think About
Building a blog is hard and sometimes disheartening work. I suppose this could be said of any goal that a person sets for themselves. It takes time, hard work, tough skin, strength, endurance, and perchance the hardest of them all– it takes patience, and lots of it! At times it challenges my conviction of how bad I really want Afrologik to become a successful blog. However thus far, I’ve remained fixated on the end result. Whenever I feel discouraged, I imagine myself on the beach in a bikini writing the next Afrologik blog, with the Pacific Ocean as the backdrop. That is going to happen, it’s written in stone–and that’s usually all the encouragement that I need.
I’ve also received good feedback from readers who have told me that my words have helped them with some of their life situations. That is the cardinal purpose of this blog; helping people feel better. So that kind of encouragement and the various “high fives” that I’ve gotten from friends are also the jolt that I need to keep moving forward.
Each day I give my eight hours to “the man” (my nine-to-five job), and then I give the next four to six hours to Afrologik, plus most of every weekend. There have been days when I have written for hours and then decided that “this is garbage” and start over. I never throw anything away because I’ve discovered that when it comes to art, todays trash could be tomorrow’s treasure.
I only write about things that I am personally knowledgeable of and things that I have experienced. My core intent is to make my readers feel confident that they can get through anything that they are going through. In doing that, I share techniques that have worked for me and encourage my readers to look at life from other perspectives– not allowing themselves to become too caught up in the way that things are “supposed to be“.
Nonetheless, not following the “supposed to be” approach to life, and then encouraging others to rage against the machine, so to speak , is not the best way to amass a huge following. In fact, the best way to become popular is to do or say (1) What has already been said 900 times (in the last hour alone) or (2) What ever everyone wants to hear (which is usually (1)). To me, this is counterproductive. If all of these cliches and platitudes are tried and true, why are so many people still looking for answers or just something that makes them feel better? I am not suggesting that Afrologik is the answer, but I hope that it offers an alternate way for people to find answers within themselves.
Cliches & Platitudes — Fortune Cookies Are Deeper
“You can’t please everyone”
Who can you please?
“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”
Sometimes what doesn’t kill you makes you sick.
“Don’t be sad that it happened, be glad that it’s over”
“Life doesn’t give you more than you can handle”
And you are content to merely “handle” things?
I’m not saying that there isn’t any truth to these sayings, but as I demonstrated, they are very easily challenged. However, it is rare that anyone who practices the use of cliches and platitudes ever expand on them or define them in a different context. How many times must the same statements be made? Now that social media is the nucleus of communication, people are changing one or two of the words and reissuing the same statements. Changing the words makes it theirs, but still they are not expanding on the meaning, so essentially, it’s just more of the same.
“No idea’s original, there’s nothing new under the sun. It’s never what you do but how it’s done”
I’m amazed when I see hundreds of “likes” and comments on these posts and blogs. Wow! Are there really this many unoriginal people walking the planet? I’ve played the devils advocate a few times by challenging their statements with an alternate viewpoint– which is rarely understood by the author or his or her followers. They can’t even imagine a new take on an old adage. However, this is now what is considered “deep“.
Meanwhile, I have friends who are amazing writers, musicians, artists (painting), and some who may not be into the arts, but are enlightened and have something to say that needs to be heard; but they do not have considerable followings yet, because they refuse to sensationalize themselves. I respect that! One of my friends even made a song about it.
There’s No Price-Tag On My Soul
Cliche topics are easy to write about. I’m confident that I could post a new blog every day if every title included some form of trite phrase. My other creative friends could very easily jump on the bandwagon and enjoy a bit of the hype. But if any of us were to do that, we’d be selling ourselves out. I’m by no means implying that authors of such blogs and social media posts are sellouts, but perhaps a bit shallow.
When you have a platform and a following, you should give your public something to ponder beyond a random “amen” or a thumbs up. Your readers, listeners, or spectators should walk away feeling fulfilled and ready to make changes in their lives and in the world. With your platform you have an opportunity to use your talent to empower and influence your audience. You are selling them out when you do not encourage them to think deeper, question everything, and believe that it’s going to work out (whatever their dilemma may be).
Every subject has a genre and every genre has an audience. It will probably take a while to find your audience; but when you find it, remember that they are there to see you.