To be inspired, or inspiring? Late night thoughts on writing, literature and blog authority.

image-3Today was a lazy day for my brain. I woke with a slight migraine so I couldn’t get much work done. Instead my wife and I went to a movie (RIPD) and then snuck into another one (World War Z). I consumed 6 large gingersnap cookies and a double espresso, then at about midnight we came home.

Sometime during these waking hours, however, in the slight fog of Flexeril (taken as part of my ever-evolving experiment against migraine pain) I had a rather huge idea for a new website: an online database of the world’s best similes, analogies and metaphors, that authors could use when they get stuck. To build up the content, I’d pay $1 for each submission I choose to publish, which would give writers and researchers incentive to submit lots of examples. It would also be a way for indie authors to promote their own books and writing, by selecting excellent examples of their own and linking to their books.

I’m a little stuck on a site title…. I thought about a simple common example like “green as grass” or “sweet as sugar.” Now I’m leaning towards a mashup of simile, metaphor and analogy, like SIMILOLOGY,  metanology, metasimilogogy, ANOLOGY, Metaphology. (If you have better suggestions let me know.)

At any rate, quick to act on my big ideas, I started searching for quote sites that had something a little like I had in mind, so I could hire a programmer to construct a new site for me. I stumbled upon www.quotesome.com, which led me to the blog of its founder, Michelle Lara Lin (thestrangerblog.com). Michelle’s writing is powerful, personal, extremely educated, and draws you in like a steamy romance.

As someone with a background in philosophy and literature, I love the references to Camus, Kafka, Ayn Rand and other great philosophers and works of classical literature. I kept journals of deep emotional traumas, growths, personal insights about the purpose and meaning of life back in my early 20s, before blogging existed, and The Stranger Blog felt nostalgic to me.

I started Creativindie with the explicit purpose of being practical and useful to authors and artists – it’s the first blog or website I’d started to help people, rather than talk about myself, and I’m reasonable confident in what I’m doing with it and where its future lies.

But after being moved by The Stranger Blog I realize it isn’t enough to give advice or tips. My words need to be filled with artistic expression, personal wisdom and insight, and an emotional edge that has immediate affect.

Readers need to be startled, amazed, impressed, touched. Being remarkable and exceptional is not just about providing useful content. It’s not just about doing big things or solving problems or making other people’s lives easier. It’s about delving into the darkness, exploring the hidden cupboards of humanity, culture, society, reflecting on life and death, being a pioneer in pushing the box and redefining psychological boundaries.

I’m also realizing how much I enjoy talking about philosophy and literature and life, how much better my writing flows when I’m reflecting, and how simplistic, empty and non-essential it seems to be blogging about how to sell more books and paintings and make more money.

That said, after over a decade of academic study of literature, I realized that reading great books all day and getting my PhD will only qualify me to teach literature – enjoyable, but a competitive career, with not so great a salary. And I’m enjoying learning how to make lots of money quickly, and having lots of money for the first time in my life, and starting and selling companies, hiring employees, scaling businesses and inventing new services to help people solve problems. I think I’d prefer to be a millionaire, reading my books in a big comfortable house, doing my research for pleasure, rather than live in a small apartment correcting Freshman English student essays.

I suppose I’d like to think blog authority and readership is about connecting with readers by revealing yourself. But the truth is, if you want to blog for profit, the writing doesn’t matter nearly as much as the solving of people’s problems. But since Creativindie includes the final step of Luminosity, which is about finding meaning and purpose in life and being a torch to light the path for others, I hope once I hit my blogging stride I can be both practical and inspirational. At least its something to work towards.

What are your thoughts on this?

About Derek Murphy

I help authors and artists turn their passions into full-time businesses, make a bigger impact, and blaze a luminous trail of creative independence. Right now I'm in Taiwan finishing a PHD in Literature, writing several books, and managing a handful of online businesses. Find me

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