Trying to get noticed?
Want to get people to see YOU? To pause their feverish scrolling? The interweb is overrun with how to guarantee clicks! Wanna go viral? Here’s how! Just this morning ‘7 insane headline ideas that will give you more traffic’ floated into my in-box.
The advice follows a recurring theme—success, speed, effortlessness, winning.
How do we do something or do it better?
How can we become something?
How can we get somewhere (without sacrifice)?
How can we multiply the benefits?
How can we do it fast?
Tell us what to do
Tell us what to do. Tell us how the experts do it, or how the boss does it. Or at least how a famous person does it. It’s a quest and the holy grail is out there. How can it not be? You just have to find the right titbit.
There’s a place for all this self-improvement. I’m sure it’s valuable sometimes, to some people. There may be a few useful things within. But I’m over it. I’m tired of this rabble of life coaches talking up my insecurities while pretending to be my friend, entreating me to rummage through their tawdry showbags looking for the prize.
The ‘killer headline’ is reducing our gorgeously complex, infinitely magnificent age of information to a tabloid rag. Crying wolf until we’d rather tune out altogether.
What makes you pause?
I’d rather read something beautiful, evocative, dream-like. Something that lifts me into the light and hope of a new day than presses me more deeply into the mire of life’s shortcomings and fix-its.
The killer headline for me is different. It’s the opening line in a book that is the perfect pick-up, that meets your eyes and smiles crookedly. That lays itself down and asks for your commitment. That knows you’d follow it anywhere.
I read one recently in The Sunlit Night by Rebecca Dinerstein. “In the moment after Robert Mason’s condom broke he rolled off me, propped himself on his elbow, and said, “What you do doesn’t help anybody.”
The opening of Run by Ann Patchett still takes my breath away. ‘Bernadette had been dead two weeks when her sisters showed up in Doyle’s living room asking for the statue back.”
I want to read them. I want you to post your favourite first sentences of novels or stories. Let’s have some new headlines.
Click here for beauty.