People make fun of Buzzfeed and like sites for being nothing but lists but guess what, they know what they’re doing because the internet, it loves a list. What it doesn’t love is writing. It doesn’t love reading things that are long or wordy. It wants everything handed out in little bites and slideshows, it wants amusement and quick reads and eschews anything that could get the tl;dr tag.
I am finding this out because I get paid according to visits and page views and anything that’s a list makes the money, anything that’s just writing means I’m thankful for my day job or I’d starve to death.
I’m disappointed. It’s not like I didn’t know this already. It’s just that now I’m taking it personally.
I need to find venues (like The Magazine, which will print a piece of mine in the next issue) that appreciate long form writing or which pay writers by the word or piece and don’t make them feel forced to write listicles instead of articles.
Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy writing for Forbes because I love writing about music, even if it is in list form, but as a writer it is kind of disheartening to write something then get the feeling that people are saying “Hmm that sounds like an article not a list, maybe later or HEY LOOK OVER AT THAT SITE, IT’S THE TOP 20 PHOTOS OF KIDS PULLING SANTA’S BEARD!”
And of course I take that as a reflection on myself and my writing even though the next thing I put out will be a list and it will get a ton of page views and give the people what they want, right?
Then I go back to editing and basically re-writing my novel at the behest of an agent and I can’t help but feel that being a paid writer means giving up control and thinking more about what everyone else want rather than what you want to write.
I’m not very good at that.