Mark Twain said that a classic that everybody wants to have read, but nobody wants to read.
Online, meanwhile, there are plenty of things that nobody wants to read, but everybody has read.
The catchy headline draws you in. The promise of remarkable insight keeps you reading. The feeling that you’ll be missing out if you unsubscribe keeps you coming back for more.
It’s easy to be suckered in by clever copywriters and bloggers, but the truth is that there are probably only a handful of writers who really inspire you on a regular basis.
Take a look through your blog reader or your email inbox and ask how many of those people in there are creating things that make you stop and take notes. How many of them are really, truly valuable?
Many a time, I’ve stayed subscribed to a blog because I’ve known or liked the author. Really, though, it’s a false loyalty.
You only have so much time in your day, so why spend it reading someone who fails to spark inspiration in you?
This isn’t a cry to reject all writers except the biggest names. Many of those with smaller audiences are actually pushing boundaries further and in more interesting ways than the more established folk.
No, it’s a cry to read only those who inspire you.
Not those you like.
Not those you know.
Not even those who you think should inspire you.
Pay no heed to audience numbers or to reputation or to anything beyond your own reaction and your own personal predilection.
Whether in tweets, in blog posts, in podcasts, or in newsletters, be ruthless with your attention.
Trim things down to a point where you’re only taking on the most nourishing of writing.