Cookie cutter blog farming? And instant reaction. Yuck!

Water outlet (Hydro power station - Vännäs Sweden) All I wanted was a glass of water.
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Article factories

Now, there’s something about calling something a factory that really turns me cold.
Yeah, I get that people want content and they want it fast. They want readable stuff that catch the interest of potential customers. And because it might take thousands of reads for just a few of those to ultimately spend money on something, there needs to be some serious traffic going on.

I get contacted a couple of times a day with offers to either fix up my website to look attractive to customers or to write articles for me. Oh, let’s get you hooked with $1 per article, real fucking quickly, and never mind the content. The article making factory can write shit for me.

Um, Yeah No!

And before you get mad at me; let me just say that I do get it. Your strength may not be in writing stuff and since there are people who do little else but write stuff, then why not? It’s the perfect content creation partnership — if it’s done right. Trust me, I do get that. and I’m not saying it’s all bad. But it is not for me.

My reaction to these offers is simply: No thanks, not interested, go away, please.

If I don’t have hundreds and hundreds of blogs on my website, it’s because I haven’t written hundreds and hundreds of articles. It’s not because I couldn’t find mass produced content for cheap. It is because I don’t want content that is not mine or completely endorsed by me on my site. I don’t have time to sift through sludge to find nuggets. I really don’t. and to be completely honest, I don’t trust content aggregators to know what’s right for me, my brand, and my website. I’m really not all that interested in numbers.

I read enough bad content online to know I don’t want that! And I also see so much crap out there that I do not want to contribute to this cluster-fuck of awful that happens when demand goes from quality to quantity where no one benefits. Except for the Blog writing farms that pay pennies for creativity.
You know, you get what you pay for.
An article I pay a dollar for will not be a good one no matter how you slice it. And in such a case where the read is actually quite interesting, I would feel uneasy about not showing the creator enough respect to pay them properly.
I would happily link to the article, endorse it, and see that people find their way there. Sigh. Old fashioned? 🙂 maybe. Then so be it.

Cookie cutter blog farms? No thank you. not for me. Sorry.

Submit is The point of no return. The introvert bloggers dilemma. Intentional blog 05

Constantly Confused - The J-Zine
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Break the status quo before it breaks you.

I’m not sure what’s worse, the dread before hitting that button for fear of being exposed as someone seeking attention or approval; or the realization that there is something wrong in what I just sent out to the world for all to see and judge. Or, the feeling when I let it slip and nothing ever does make it out of the drafts folder. It’s the same tired old narration going through my mind. Same old stories; equally bothersome but for different reasons.

The creation, the preparation, and the declaration.

So here is a creation. Let’s jump into the middle of that process. Lets just for arguments sake say it’s a short work of fiction. It could be anything really; in my own case it can be blog, fiction, music, or any combination of those. But in this blog let’s say it’s a great funny story about a family of woodchucks finding an orphaned porky-pine they name Spike.
(Ah, a childrens story. Now we’re getting somewhere even if we’re completely sidetracked. Making a U-turn right here gets us back to this blog. . )

Okay, the story is done. It has been lovingly crafted, edited, picked at and rewritten multiple times. It is finally perfect. Noone has been allowed to read it. Not even a mother, brother, best friend. Nope. It’s too personal. That story is special. It’s so close to the heart. There are so many hours of frustration and creative bliss poured into that family of woodchucks. . So noone has been allowed to view the miracle of Spike.

Because once it leaves the safety of the harddrive and word processor; It won’t be the same. It will never be the same again.

My precious!

Enter submission anxiety disorder.

This is the point where a decision needs to be made and different people view this in vastly different ways. Today, I’m turning to those who can relate to what I’ve just described. It is most likely someone commonly called an introvert. In the spectrum of introvert I suppose it can be someone that is simply shy, with low self confidence, maybe someone with difficulties dealing with people in general. A loner perhaps. Call it what you will. I’m all of those myself. You know better than I do who you are. I try not to generalize and clump all of us under one label. This is a tricky territory to walk so , bare with me. 🙂

To publish or not to publish.

Now, that is the question. Publishing is easy so that’s not really a problem. A free blog, Facebook, selfhosted website,… you name it. The question is if it’s worth the anxiety, the fear of rejection, the potential negative critique, the internet trolls.

Is it really worth all that crap just to let others read that stupid little story. There are millions of books online and they are all written by better writers and all those books are worth reading by someone, or they wouldn’t have been published. Right?
And who would care shit about Spike anyways. What’s the point.

Isn’t that a sad recital? What a bloody waste.
Because people do want to read what you write. People do want to know your thoughts, hear your talent, and I would say that the worst thing that can happen is that nothing happens.
It is however what that voice in the back of the mind keeps saying and it is very convincing. And whether it is lacking confidence or true support from family and friends that in the end makes the potential future author leave things as they are, chances are drastically higher that the introvert is the one choosing not to push that button.

Status quo is comfortable.

But that’s not where we want to be. Status quo means that nothing changes.* Nothing is moving forward. Lessons are not only not learne; they are not taught to start with. There is no gain without some risk and as far as the act of revealing Spike to the world goes. It can be very scary. But I’ll tell you what;

Status quo will kill Spike and his family!

So, get over it. Push that button. And the next one, and the next one. When you’ve pushed that publish button a couple hundred times and exposed yourself and your creations to the world; it will be a little bit less scary. But you gained friends, knowledge, confidence, a network, a presence. So push that bloody button and break out of the status quo. Spike deserves his audience. And so do you.

After the fact anxiety disorder.

It will come. If you are the type that found it physically hard to push the button. (You did push it didn’t you?) Your heartbeat quickened, your hands started sweating, stomach clenched. You were a bit out of it. Exhilirated and devestated all at once. Out of your comfort zone like a fish on dry land. You clicked it. You published. If your case is severe, your thoughts go around and around and it may sound something like this:

Oh my god. I did it. Damn it. why? I didn’t have to. I finally did it! I could have made it better first. Who’s going to read it. Will there be feedback? should I take it down before anyone reads it? I should! No, I can’t now. I’m not an author, not a blogger, not experienced. That’s stupid. I shouldn’t… I have to check to see if there’s comments. should I tweet that? Is that presumptious, Arrogant? But I want to know. But what if they don’t like it? It’s stupid. i should have read it one more time before. I should have, could have, would have. Wish I hadn’t.

Sigh! Tiring isn’t it?

The bad news is that it will happen again. If you are like me; it will happen for another couple thousand times. Hopefully you are not quite like me.

The good news is; after just a few outbreaks like this it does get better. It gets a little bit easier to handle.

A typo will not end the world as you know it!

Trust me, it’s not going to happen. A mistake will not kill you, torture your pets, your kitten, or get you locked up by the Internet maffia. So, get over it. If you find a mistake after the fact, do correct it. That’s just good form. Look at it this way: If you find a blog or a story with a mistake of some sort. Do you really think less of that person? How much do you truly care about the level of perfection of that thing you just read. Truth is; if it doesn’t interest you; you will simply click onto something else and you won’t give it a second thought. Why would anyone think of your published work any differently? If someone likes it, they will hopefully remember you, share your story, and leave you a comment. You win! They win! It is a true win win situation.

There will be mistakes made. You can trust me on that too. I’ve made all of them. I’m still here, my world is still functioning. Think instead:

I did it! and I’m going to do it again.

Yes, you did, and you will.

And now, since I am an attention junkie, I want to talk about me for a moment. 😀

Heh. This brings me to the dilemma. I am the kind of introvert that loves and loathes attention in equal measure. Over the years I have come to accept myself and how my brain works. I have published stuff online for over a decade now and I have never become completely comfortable with it. I started out with uploading music on That just shows how old I am. lol.
I think those first few clicks on the submit button paved my path up until this day. I was terrifyed. The anxiety hit the roof. But I was exhilirated and so excited I didn’t know what to do with myself. What happened was that I got instant feedback. And it was all good. I was lucky. If I had been ignored, rejected, flamed, or put down in any other way; I firmly believe that I wouldn’t be writing this today. I became an attention junkie and I have been fighting it since then.

Here was the thing back then:

I wanted to be looked at but not really seen
I wanted to be understood but not really communicating.
I wanted nice feedback but not be critiqued.
I wanted everything to be perfect but was too hurried and anxious to make it so.
I wanted attention and recognition but was too ashamed to admit it
I wanted the answers but couldn’t ask questions.

I want to bee seen and heard because I think I might have something worth someones time.
I love nice feedback and I even dig critique because it all teaches me something.
I want everything to be perfect but it’s okay if it’s not.
I want recognition and attention and I’m happy to admit it.
I ask questions even when they make me feel like an idiot.
It’s all good!< Just go for it.

It is what it is. I’m afraid of many things but that is not going to stop me from trying. My creations are not everyones cup of tea and even if I would want them to be; I can’t please everyone.
I will not let Spike turn to dust and sad memories in a drawer anymore. I’m letting Spike out.

Just as I’ve let
Chrissy out to play,
Kate and David, Sky, Kristina, That guy in
A gal eerie of desire who I can’t remember the name of,
Marcy, Denny and all the others. I have decided not to trash my online presence again. Finally I’m at the point where I can say:

It truly is all good. Scary or not, I will do what I love, no matter what!

And I hope you do too.

And now that I’ve gotten that out of my system; Just push that button will ya?

It’s scary, but it will be okay. Whether it’s starting a blog, showing off your music, telling the world online or offline what you can do, it’s the best thing you can ever do. There may not be an undo button anywhere, but more importantly; there is no Redo button when there was no Do being done to begin with.


So if you could wrap your head around that sentence; Go ahead! Push that button.

Leave your comments. What’s your story?

Jenny K Brennan
Ontario Canada 2014

*”Status quo” is a Latin phrase
meaning the existing state of affairs.

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Reasons not to blog. Motivation drives the message. Here’s why that can get messy. — Intentional blogging 04

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Should you really blog?

There are many bloggers out there and so much great content. It’s huge. Basically, it is a new world and now is the time to be a part of it. The reasons to start a blog and let your voice be part of this global conversation, share your voice and views are numerous. I, for one, do want to take part and create a presence online that matters and that people will find interesting and engaging. Condensed in one simple pitch the message says: Write great content, find an audience, network, and good things will happen.

Yeah, damn right, just do it!

It’s all good and fine and very very tempting. But…

There is a but. A few of them in fact. This is a list of thoughts that should never be a main reason to throw a blog out there. Here are thoughts that, when they pop up in my mind, I stop what I’m doing. Just stop, rewind, and rethink what I’m doing.
because when it comes down to content here’s what I think I know:

Intention, conscious or not, changes the message.

Some articles simply make me feel a bit uneasy. I feel manipulated and sometimes I’m not clear why. It could be that the motivation of the author included one of these statements:

  • “I’m gonna make me some money!”

    I’ll just write some list blog and put ads and links about what I’m talking about. If I put them between that bullet point and that link, and schedule a hundred tweets. Some idiot is going to click that link. What about an old fashioned pop up and a form that won’t go away. I need that email address. and if i place this picture with the product there and force visitors to that page and… Okay, what am I gonna do a list about? Hmm.

    Personally, I hate ads. I hate poorly written blogs where ads are intrusive, in your face, and all that junk. A blog listing the five best ways to lose weight in time for Christmas. And there’s that ad for diet pills, miracle foods to boost the metabolism, wondrous exercises that will make you slim in ten minutes.
    To be blunt: Pages like that make me sick to my stomach and if I could erase me ever ending up on that page I would. My visit endorsed that garbage just slightly and sometimes I think, like the child I am deep in my heart of hearts:
    “I take it back! I’m sorry, I take it back. Please tell me I didn’t just go there. I wish I hadn’t.”

    It’s just so obviously fake and manipulative. But I know it works. Crazy as it is, it bloody works. But is it worth it?

    In my opinion, making money is a bonus that may end up happening with time. slowly.
    If you believe in a product I see no problems with it; I’m not a total purist as far as that goes. A great add thoughtfully placed might get me clicking on it. But an auto generated ad for male enhancement pills injected in the middle of a blog about women’s sexual health is neither.

  • “I’m gonna be famous!”
    I don’t know how to say this; but I will give it a try. 🙂 I would love your opinion on this because my feelings about the “fame” factor online are strangely conflicting and I don’t have room on this page to dissect all of my thoughts. But here is what feels obvious to me:
    If content is great, the personality is interesting, the ideas and conversations are world class superb. and if the audience is with you. If there is enough substance in the material to feed that hunger that is all of us watching what you do. Then maybe. Just maybe.

    But the thing is, in my opinion, famous today is not the same thing as famous was thirty years ago. True recognition comes slowly but steady if you have what it takes, work hard, and create something that does matter.
    I do think that famous is subjective and changes so fast that if the motivation is fame…. It’s not going to happen for the vast majority of us.

  • “I’m gonna tell those suckers out there that their wrong!”
    Picking a fight to get people to respond. Disrespectful, ignorant, and arrogant.
    Making a statement is fine and even sharing an opinion that may be controversial to get a conversation going is great. There are things we need to talk about in these complicated times. I think that is a great start. But the key here is conversation. If the assumption is that there is only one opinion that counts is just a terrible starting point.

    Make it a question instead of a statement and be open for debate. If you know that nothing will change your opinion, then just leave it in the draft and start over.

  • “I can say whatever the hell I want. They’ll never know!”
    Thinking that the net is still anonymous.
    I do hope that we all know by now how untrue that is. There was a time when one could get away with pretend names and hidden identities. It’s not like that any more for good or for bad. The thing is that deception doesn’t work. Whether it’s poor research in a subject or a bold lie about yourself, who you are and what you’ve done or not done it will come back and bite you in the rear. If you can’t be more honest than not, just don’t bother saying anything. It reeks of disrespect and people can smell that stink from miles away.
  • Motivation colors the message and the audience can tell.

    I seem to come back to the same thing in each of these items and that is honesty. Be true to what you say. A blog may be deeply personal or a review of the latest i-device or pure entertainment for fun; it doesn’t matter. What you say matters. How you say it matters. But your motivation matters just as much and if it’s forced, manipulative, confrontational, or simply arrogant, it’s not going to appeal to people.

    Great content comes from heart as well as mind.

    It may be a niche audience or millions of followers. That makes no difference. What I’m thinking is that fifty subscribers that love what you do is worth so much more than ten thousand twitter followers that just followed a link and did the expected click as a matter of course.

    Don’t blog because you are supposed to blog. If it feels like work it’s probably not for you.

    Tell your story in your own words and good things will happen.

    And finally

    Respect your audience even if the audience is just your dog sitting next to you waiting to be fed, your mother, and you.
    You know that both your mother and your dog will know when you’re bullshitting, right?

    Thanks for reading. Let me know what you think about this. Do you blog? Why did you get started? Have you thought about it forever but it just doesn’t seem to happen? Is there something I should add to this list? Please do tell. Leave your comments.

    Jenny K Brennan