The awful truth about being the best

On Friday, 9/7/12, around 1:00pm EST, I went on a little Twitter rant. Not because I was particularly upset about anything, or because I was having a terrible day.

In fact, the day was going pretty well.

I had my Athletic Greens, I did someone a favor, I played with my dog, I finalized the vocabulary on some really important projects I’m taking on, updated my calendar and caught up on some reading.

I pasted some of the Twitter rant below, if you don’t follow me and missed it…


I can’t say that anything “set me off” on my Twitter spree.
Except, perhaps, everything.

What began as me reading some of my favorite newsletters and famous blogger’s emails for the week, ended in my feeling legitimately unsatisfied and deceived.

Here’s the truth, plain and simple. And be prepared, because it’s hard to swallow.


That’s the fuckin’ secret.
That’s the magic pill.

That’s how you go from 65 page views a month to 90,000 page views a month.

Hard work, sacrifice and probably doing a lot of shit you don’t want to.

Here’s what it’s not: having a clique on Reddit who think you’re funny, getting co-signed by Ryan Gosling, making the funniest Meme the world has ever seen (until tomorrow), or doing a lot of crappy, low-fi Internet videos.

It’s doing or making something–which may put you out of your comfort zone–that people resonate with.

What I realized when I was tweeting like a maniac was: Successful bloggers are just successful writers who earned the right to sell us shit from their own storefront. They earned the right to pitch you their stuff, and now they don’t need anyone’s permission to do anything else.

This is what they will sell us:

  • The best, most proven, out-of-this-worldly-successful script for guest-blogging
  • A Query Letter Writing Course
  • Successful Blog Marketing 101, 102 and 103
  • How to Record Podcasts that Sell
  • How to Create Products that Sell

And that’s great.
If you want to be a salesman.

And this isn’t supposed to be a giant middle finger to anyone who sells stuff on the Internet. I buy programs on the Internet and I recognize that a lot of bloggers are experts in their fields, but if you’re a blogger and you “made it”, don’t tell me that the key to “making it” is buying all of someone else’s crap instead of making my own.

I didn’t leave my office job and start a shitty blog in 2009 to sell stuff. I could have stayed at my job and sold stuff, and made WAY better money doing it, but I woke up every day dreading going to that hellhole cubicle.

I was always an artist. I always dreamed of someone, somewhere, reading my stuff and feeling inspired. I always wanted to create stuff that mattered and affected people and meant something.

And the truth is, unfortunately, there’s no way to flip that switch and become relevant.
There’s no magic drink that you can swallow that makes people want to give you their money.

I’ve manipulated prices of my book on Amazon’s store, I gave content away and I spent a ton of money on an aesthetically-pleasing website, so that folks thought I deserved to be here, that I was some kind of valid professional in this crazy, fictional world of blogging.


That doesn’t matter.

I deserve to be here, and you deserve to be here.
Plain and simple.

I earned MY stripes when I was unemployed for nearly a year and living off the $80 a week I made writing posts for a small music website. I earned my stripes when I wrote for anyone who would ask, for years, for FREE.

And you earned YOUR stripes when you woke up this morning and you remembered you’re not a talentless hack profiteering from other people’s misfortune and insecurities. You earned YOUR stripes when you decided to create something that makes people REALLY FUCKIN’ HAPPY.

Because here’s what the folks in the ivory blog tower won’t tell you: They were just like you and me, once. They wrote good stuff at a time when there wasn’t a lot of good stuff out. They amassed an audience, and now they’re set. They’ll tell you that you need them to “make it”, because it will be easier that way, despite the fact that most of these guys had little-to-no mentorship in the web space when they began. So maybe I should be happy, or feel lucky, that I write in a community where people are willing to share the “secrets” of their success with me, for a nominal fee.

And maybe you should feel that way, too.

But if you made it this far, maybe you can just bear with me for a little bit longer, because, while I’m not the guy who can tell you how to make six figures in one year (I haven’t done it yet), I can tell you what the view is like from here, on regular-Joe-land: worryfree and I sleep like a baby, knowing that I write shit that matters.

I don’t write stuff to think about how much money I will make, or how many people will see it. I write what I feel when I feel it. I never posted ads on my site, because I never wanted to and even though I sell a book on Amazon, you can still find it posted up here for free.

Here’s the secret of how I became a blogger who knew a lot of other really successful other bloggers, but didn’t make as much money as them: I tell stories, damn good ones, every single time, and I don’t sell stuff and I try to help a few other people tell their stories–and I do all of this while having a regular job.

I know I’m going against the grain here, in fact, this whole blog is against the grain. But that’s the privilege that having a REALLY small audience affords you: you can say whatever you want and know that literally, no one, is going to be offended.

I’m one of the few who still thinks that content actually matters.
I’m one of the few who tried really hard to accurately convey the struggles of being an artist, and didn’t turn into a marketing seminar.
I’m one of the few who isn’t going to tell you that eternal happiness comes from quitting your job.

Writing is hard.
Being broke is harder.
Being a failure is hardest. — Me

All of the stuff that I’ve written, off the top of my-head, are the dirty truths of this ridiculous, massive, unpredictable space of the blogosphere.

So, here’s what counts. Here’s what you should be asking yourself EVERY TIME you start building something:

  • Are you working, every day, at your craft, to be better than the other guys who are working, every day, to be better than you?
  • Are you stretching yourself so fucking thin, that you’re FORGETTING good ideas faster than you’re creating them?
  • Are you applying to BS jobs–which you don’t want to do–so you can keep a roof over your head long enough to make something that you are proud of? Read that again. Are you proud of what you’re doing, because if you’re not, you’re doing it wrong.

Stop trying to do what everyone else did, which wasn’t done, when they did it.

Be yourself and be fuckin’ great at it.

And that’s the God-awful truth about how to be the best at blogging and anything else you can think of.

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