- )They’ve attempted to seduce you.
- )They’re so orderly and neat.
- )Everybody is doing it.
- )Why shouldn’t I?
- )I’ll just put a numbered list together of….
- )Yes, an ordered list of things.
- )I’ll be sure to put “Top 5 ways to do — something” in the title.
- )People will see the ordered list of things and get seduced too.
- )It’s just so orderly and neat, they can’t resist.
- )They’ll want to be orderly and neat too.
- )Join us — write a list and you can be one of us too.
Listicle — From the Latin: Listus Annoyus
That awful thing above is the closest thing I’ll ever write to a listicle format. They’re everywhere you look. In magazines, in newspapers, and of course in Medium you’ll find the listicle. In its wild habitat it conquers all other species of literature and sucks up all the resources. It reigns supreme all over other wildlife in the writing jungle.
It is the lion on the Serengeti of the written media. All other creatures beware and bow down to it.
It’s easy, so easy to do it. Just put everything in a list and it’ll flow. You’ve been told how much people just like their orderly nature. I’m sure you’ve been attracted to them as well. I won’t even bother to tell that they don’t work.
They do work.
A listicle will get eyes on your work. It’s a simple format people can breeze through and are familiar with. It will also make your work fit in with most other things floating about in the ether. You will be a brother or sister of the listicle order. Congratulations!
What Are You Trying To Do?
“I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” — Wayne Gretzky
You’re reading what I’ve written. I’ll go out on a limb and figure that you write as well. Why do you write? I won’t even bother to guess, everybody writes for different reasons. However, I’m assuming you want to create an audience of some type. I’ll go out on another limb and speculate that you want a big audience.
How big can your audience be if you do what everybody else is doing?
I listened to a motivational speaker named Dan Clark once explain extraordinary performance. He mentioned that he’d often have large companies bring him in to speak about improving performance. He’d often ask what kind of performance boost do you want?
If you want a 10–30% performance boost, just get better at what everybody else is doing. If you want a serious performance boost, by serious he means 100–200% improvement, you can’t do what everybody else is doing. The machine has to be taken apart and the wheels have to come off. You must examine your work environment and do something no one else is doing.
In fact, you may have to do something that people will call you crazy for doing.
Now back to your writing. What are you trying to do? Are you trying to seriously boost your audience or make marginal improvements? If you’re trying to make marginal improvements, a listicle may be a good method. You’ll be just like everybody else and with improved content, you’ll get a marginal improvement.
However, if you have that crazy glint in your eye — you know, that glint that says I want to improve by a thousand percent. Now you need to enter a new realm. This realm requires you doing what others aren’t doing. You must take on the king of the jungle — the listicle.
Grab it by its scary mane and rip it off its throne. Make your own dominant form of writing.
You’ll need to be different than the masses for a performance upgrade of that level.
Step Away From The Herd
The herd is a useful technique….for a wildebeest. Since you’ve only got two legs and a much bigger brain, you’ll need a different defense. Like it or not, you’re in a herd right now.
- The Medium Herd
- The Blog Herd
- The Writer Herd
You look like everybody else and blend in very well. That’s a problem for your goal of building an audience.
To build an audience, you need to win an audience.
You know what the common device of the herd is now don’t you? Say it with me, the listicle!
This is my prime case against this literary device. It’s what everybody else is doing. To truly step away from the crowd and win your audience, you’ll need something different. You’ll need your own individual identifying characteristic. What is that characteristic? I’ll be damned if I know.
What I can tell you, that characteristic isn’t is a listicle.
Develop your own flavor. Develop your own style. As Wayne Gretzky said, go to where the puck will be, not where it is. This platform is a collection of wildly different minds and styles. That’s what makes it wonderful. When we all do the same thing, it kills it.
It also kills you and your individuality. You become a member of the herd and lose your individual wonderfulness. It’s there within you, let it out from its cage. When you’re truly unique, you will win your audience and a sizeable one to boot.
Join with me now and grab your weapon of choice, let’s kill off the listicle!
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