I feel like a fern at the bottom of the Redwood Forest

By: Scott Biddulph

So your writing, your blog, your book isn’t getting attention on the internet? What should you do?

The internet has been an incredible ride. Especially if you were there, like me, to watch it grow. I remember that sometime in 1994, I went to see a motivational speaker at a sales conference, and he was telling us about this new technology called America Online (AOL). My first desktop was a Pentium class IBM machine. I paid $4500 for this monstrous computer, and I bought it at Radio Shack. What`s this got to do with anything? Stick with me.

Today, we have the internet that moves with the speed of light. Information about anything is at the tips of our fingers or available with one voice activated question to the Google microphone icon. Google was once a noun—it’s now a noun and a verb. Just Google it!

With all of this technology at our fingertips, there are also more opportunities for those that love to write, or that call themselves authors, to get themselves exposed to an audience. There are wonderful people that have become very successful at blogging about food, recipes, shopping deals, self-help issues, Christian devotionals—you name it, and someone is blogging about that topic.

The problem today isn’t the avenues of exposure; the new problem is how to get the attention of people that are inundated with so much information from the information superhighway. I`ve often said that we are like “ferns at the bottom of the Redwood Forest trying to reach the sunlight.”

What do the successful bloggers do? How is it that they attract 5000, 10,000, 20,000 hits a month to their blogs? I have boiled it down to three things that I believe are vital to successful blogging and writing in the midst of such fierce competition for people’s attention.

  1. Write about what you know—(finding your voice).
  2. Make a unique contribution—(your posts have to be valuable, worth reading).
  3. Good, clear writing is a must—(know good grammar!).

I know there are other top five lists, top ten lists, and advice columns about how to reach readers but in my personal experience, and in my studies of successful writers, these three attributes are always present among the others. So, let’s keep it simple.

I’m often reminded of the story Little Women when Jo is told by her mentor, the German professor, Frederick Bhaer, “…write what you know, Jo.” This had a profound effect on Jo and rather than writing about garbage that no one seemed to care about, her writing began to gain attention because it was her genuine voice.

jo

How many of you can relate? How many of us have spent time writing about subjects that were all the rage concerning pop culture or something musical, etc., and yet, these subjects were not in our area of expertise. In spite of research or good writing (so we thought), no one seemed to give a rip—no one read our work. It hurts, doesn’t it? Yes, but it’s good for us as writers, and we have to have thick skin.

When we write in our voice or our areas of expertise, we will see a beautiful reaction—people will read, share, and comment on our writing. I remember the first time I started to get some serious and detailed comments and conversations on my blogs, it was such a wonderful feeling to know that people took the time to read and comment—that the words touched them in some way.

The second point is about writing something that is value added or unique. It`s not so much that the topic hasn’t been discussed before as much as it’s important for you to give a unique experience or spin on the subject. Again, it falls back to writing what you know.

Finally, make sure that your grammar and syntax are the best they can be. Read about grammar and sentence structures. I know this is often a very dull topic for writers, but do you want to be a professional at what you do? Well then, get to work and study grammar and syntax so that you not only write about interesting topics but also so that you’re writing clear sentences; clear writing is good writing.

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S.W. Biddulph

Scott Biddulph is a published writer, author, and poet from North Georgia. He began writing as a youngster and followed his lifelong dream of reaching people through the written word when he returned to The University of North Georgia in 2013 to finish earning his BA/English with a concentration on publication and creative writing. His publications include the following: an eBook, Apples of Gold: A collection of inspirational short stories and poems (Smashwords, 2010) and a paperback, Voices from the Heart, (Createspace, 2012). His poetry is published in Papers and Publications Undergraduate Research Journal. Vol 3 (2014) and the award-winning Chestatee Review (Spring, 2015), among other places (Check his LinkedIn profile for a full list of his publications). He is currently working on publishing poetry, creative non-fiction, academic essays, and his memoir. ******** Scott has also worked as an intern editor for the University of North Georgia Press. As a freelance editor, he has done the layout and design of several books and magazines. He is currently working with several authors on various publication projects in which he is either ghostwriting, editing manuscripts, or doing the layout and design of their books. ******** Finally, and most importantly, he is a father, grandfather, husband, and dedicated Harley Davidson rider. He and his family enjoy the beauty of the North Georgia Mountains where they live—especially their screened in back porch where they love to bird watch. ******** ~ "I love realism. I love writing about the raw, down-to-Earth, heartfelt realities of life. I love to write in a way that reaches into the human soul—to take the greatest pains and struggles in life, and make them a blessing to others. Fantasy is a wonderful, interesting thing—but real-life situations, feelings, fears, and dreams are an unexplored ocean of stories that need to be told." ~ ~Scott Biddulph~

4 comments

  1. Good morning, Scott; this is not just truthful, but encouraging. Who hasn’t felt dwarfed by the giants writing today? The good news is there is still room in the forest for the ferns. A touching reminder of how to grow and thrive online.

    I think we all get discouraged and I’m challenging people to share this one for the holiday season for all their writer friends who wonder why no one is reading their posts. There are a lot of us ferns in the woods. She smiles.

    https://twodropsofinkat.wordpress.com/2015/12/22/i-feel-like-a-fern-at-the-bottom-of-the-redwood-forest/comment-page-1/#comment-107

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