Are you writing sticky content? The kind of thing AI zeros in on and pushes to the top of every page? If so, enjoy. My content used to be sticky. I’d feel that warm smug sense of satisfaction each time a story was curated. Each extra hundred views and reads calmed an ancient itch. Moreover, I’d feel vindicated because the type of content I create flies in the face of what nearly every “expert” tells me to write.
I seldom consider what you, the reader, consider valuable. I’m not even slightly interested in helping you succeed at anything. That’s between you and whatever gods you make midnight sacrifices to.
The stories I write are the stories I’m intensely interested in reading. And, until recently, AI seemed to agree with me. I seldom went more than a day or so before another story was curated. The little green bars on the graph soared. I understood that my refusal to play the game of showing you how to make money or sleep better or be more productive was going to keep me on the lower rungs of this ladder. I was ok with that.
I was a happy little keyboard clacker, dutifully writing and publishing and promoting a new story — or two — daily. It was real work, but with every story I published ideas for six others would jump up and down begging to be next. In my darkest and most secret heart, I held onto a vain hope that one of these babies would strike a chord and shoot into the stratosphere. That never happened.
Ghosted by artificial intelligence
Did I change something, write something that AI thought tasted funny? I’ll never know. But one day, oh I’d say around the beginning of October, AI ghosted me. Almost immediately the green bar got shorter. Those happy emails informing me of curation stopped coming. I understood that the emails had been eliminated but that something akin to curation would continue.
If it has, it’s continuing without me.
After a fruitful 18 months or so that had me in that vaunted top 5% to 7% of writers, I’ve flatlined. Whatever hopes I’d had of building something that could be a viable side hustle have evaporated. A side hustle that demands daily work, real work, hours of real work to earn a two-digit return is not sustainable. Will I mend my rebel ways and start to churn out the goods, the stuff that AI really loves?
I write because I can’t not write. I write what I write because I can’t not write that. I’m just not interested in coercing my brain and fingers to create “value” for some theoretical audience of strivers. Meh. So be it.
A marvelous discovery
That green bar remains a stubby reminder of its glory days soaring into the high three-digits (as noted, I was never a real presence here but did ok). The small token of appreciation that will grace my checking account early next month will be good to receive and then hand over to ConEd. I’m not minimizing the positives here even as I grumble and stamp my little feet.
An unforeseen positive that’s a direct result of all those months of hard work is becoming a part of this warm, supportive, funny, smart circle of writers who do write interesting stories and — to my selfish mind, better — read and appreciate mine!
That particular piece generated a number of powerful responses including:
From Bebe Nicholson
From James Knight
From Aimée Gramblin
From Sydney Duke Richey
From Indira Reddy
And from Kim McKinney
There are many many more examples of these kinds of responses that come flooding in when I publish a new story, but you get the idea. In fact, nearly everything I publish these days generates these kinds of responses. Keep in mind that each of these writers also creates absolutely top-notch work themselves. I look forward to seeing their names at the top of my page and if AI loves them, I heartily endorse that love. I also suggest you check out their writing. You’ll thank me.
So quality is winning out over quantity in my part of the writing forest. What I’m no longer gaining in terms of curation and cold hard cash I’m more than being compensated for with these kinds of strong, meaningful human connections.
I guess I’ll keep doing what I’m doing. By my reckoning, this is success!
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