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Be Original: Stop Following Trends And Copying The Masses
I’ve been blogging and writing for years. I’ve noticed something. The popular bloggers set the trends. The lesser-known bloggers copy the popular bloggers. Ideas get regurgitated over and over and over. But what would happen if we stopped following trends? Just be an original!
I’m guilty. I’ve watched other bloggers and writers and I’ve tried to emulate their writing, their attitude, their style. From Seth Godin to Leo Babauta to Jeff Goins, I’ve stolen a few ideas in hopes of becoming a more popular writer. But those days are long past me. I’d rather be an original now.
I’d Rather Be Original Than Become Rich Or Famous
Here’s the problem with the bandwagon mentality: nothing really ever changes. And nothing new really ever happens.
I also post some of my work at medium.com. One day I was reading a few of the articles at The Mission. The Mission is a Medium publication that includes writers like Benjamin P. Hardy, Jeff Goins, Charlie Gilkey, and Larry Kim. For a moment, I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be cool to write posts for The Mission and get thousands of likes and follows?” It was a fleeting moment.
I’ve noticed something about the popular online writers. They’re all just saying the same things. They copy one another. Nothing new is written. It’s just the same ideas with different titles and words. If you don’t believe me, I dare you to read the last 100 posts at The Mission, or any other popular multi-author blog. On second thought, don’t! You’ll only be wasting your time.
It Feels A Little Like High School
When I was in high school, I was an outlier. Here’s what I mean by that. I wasn’t part of the popular crowd. I could hang with them, but I didn’t really feel like I was part of that crowd. And you know what? I didn’t really care. Because I saw that the people in that crowd just copied one another in an attempt to be cool. I preferred to be the kid who wrote poetry in my history class.
I hate to say it, but somebody has to: The blogging and entrepreneurial communities on the Internet are a lot like high school! This applies to minimalism as much as any other subject area. People follow the popular blogs like The Minimalists, Becoming Minimalist, and No Sidebar. But if you read more than a handful of the articles on popular sites, you’ll find loads of repetition.
I’m not claiming I’m any better when it comes to being repetitive. It’s somewhat the nature of the beast. But I refuse to write only to appease a single audience. I refuse to copy others in an attempt to gain more followers. I’d prefer to be original and to add posts that are more personal. I like to include topics like music, art, money, and social media in the mix.
Where Are The Popular Kids Now?
If you’ve been out of high school for some time, you’ll relate to this. Many of those cool kids who set and followed trends are not so cool anymore.
It was interesting when I went to my 30-year, high-school reunion. I watched as the cool kids settled right back into their cliques. But I noted something else: Many of the old “cool kids” were unemployed or working at dead-end jobs. And some of the old “geeky kids” were now college-educated and working as engineers, doctors, and lawyers.
The Internet is not so different. Do you ever wonder where some of the popular bloggers will be in 20 or 30 years? Will they still have the popular blogs? Will they have 100,000 Facebook followers? And will they still be writing the same articles over and over and over? Or will they be washed up and have given way to a new generation of blogging entrepreneurs? And does any of this really matter?
I’ll Choose Originality Over Productivity And Success
I write to write. I play music to play music. Creativity is my way of expressing myself. I’ll continue to be original, even at the cost of losing audience members. And it’s not just the content. It’s the overall blogging/entrepreneurial mentality that stinks of trendiness.
Bloggers and online entrepreneurs all jump on the latest social media or trending topic. They all push the idea that productivity is king. I read regularly that it’s better to write daily than to wait for inspiration. Bullshit! I’ve been writing for my entire life. Inspiration comes in waves. It allows writers the time and space to live and experience life. It breeds originality.
Repetition on the other hand, breeds more of the same: repetition.
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