This is what I wrote in my Notes app the other day:
“It goes against my core values to tell anyone how they feel, what they need, how reading/viewing something will make them feel, what they’re doing wrong, what they have to do, what’s wrong with them, who’s “better” than them, what they should think, what should blow their mind or make them cry…you get the point. I have no interest in creating clickbait. And that puts me at a distinct disadvantage online.”
I’m not a subject-matter expert on anything except what I’ve experienced in my own life. (And writing. I’m pretty good with that.) I have no desire to be an ‘authority,’ a ‘guru’ or someone who promises you permanent ecstatic happiness in 287 simple, sure-fire steps.
I was severely, disablingly depressed and anxious. Now I’m not. I was on a pharmacy’s worth of medication. Now I’m not. I’ve found a depth to life that I never even imagined existed. I want to help others find that, but I can’t guarantee it. I don’t believe there is one right way, one truth, one cure-all for every single person.
Yet I also trust that what I’m writing will reach the right people. Not through the logical channels of SEO or social media bombardment, but — well, I hope these posts are written in a way that brings light to people’s lives, that helps them see something differently, that elicits an aha, or at least a ‘hmm’.
What happened to me can happen to anyone, and I believe more and more people are experiencing similar events to my ‘bliss’ experience. Once that happens, it’s impossible to see the world in the same way. I still ‘work’ on healing my brain every day, but that experience…that wasn’t my doing. On the other hand, the things I’ve learned…I believe those can help almost anybody make incremental improvements to their well-being. Unfortunately, the Internet isn’t a big fan of ‘incremental’ or ‘subtle.’ But that’s what I have to offer.
What it takes to be traditionally “successful” online runs counter to most fibres of my being. I choose well-being and inner peace. I’m not willing to hammer people over the head with why they have to read my site in order to have a fulfilling life. They don’t. You don’t. But it would be nice to actually help people through my experience.
As a writer, of course I can write clickbait. I hate it, though. And just as we now have an Internet clogged with SEO-keyword-filled articles (even though that particular approach to SEO has been gone for about four years), soon we’ll be left with cringe-worthy remnants of the day when Upworthy-style headlines were a must. I sincerely hope that earnestness becomes the next big trend.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of programs out there that tell people how to make big money online doing what they love, or how to find permanent happiness–and most of them charge a small fortune. The vast majority of them feel manipulative to me, like these people are taking advantage of others’ vulnerability and desires. Of course, that’s the first rule of sales: What’s the pain point? How does your offering solve it? But the concept of pain- or fear-based selling is anathema to me. Even when it’s spun as ‘do what you love,’ the subtext is “escape drudgery and all the problems in your current life, and live happily ever after.” My intention is to help people find inner peace no matter what’s going on in their lives.
I can’t promise it. But I can offer the perspective, experience and practices that have worked for me–with the caveat that (like most humans) I still feel anger, sadness, anxiety and other unpleasant emotions from time to time…but most of the time, I also feel inner peace. And that’s a pretty awesome way to live.