How To Be Relevant In Your Writing
In A Time Where Everything Quickly Becomes Irrelevant
The problem I’ve had with most written works is that they quickly become irrelevant. To me, anyway.
We are facing the greatest time of writing of our time. There’s more out there. There’s more to read. Too much. So much so that you can read twenty different articles in one sitting and not remember a single thing.
Because they’re irrelevant after you’ve gleaned the information from them. If they’re nonfiction. If they’re fiction, it’s even worse.
Your stories sit on shelves in bookstores until the owners realize that you no longer sell. So they throw away your books (this was confirmed by a big bookstore employee; they cost too much to return, so they throw them away. It’s stupid, I know).
But there are three main problems that I think are the biggest sources of irrelevancy.
The works were written based on a trend.
Trends live and die pretty quickly. It’s part of the times that we live in.
Gone are the days when shiny vampires and brooding werewolf hotties roamed the imagination for years. These types of ideas are lucky if they last a week.
Then people move on to the next thing (after them, I recall the trend being adults pretending they’re children who murder each other; I could be wrong though).
People don’t care that long.
Look at Tiktok trends as an example. From what I’ve heard, some trends last a day. And they can be dangerous (don’t put all your trust in children to know where to toe the line).
They’re too current.
This can easily be seen in the technology field. Our tech nowadays is improving at a rate that is increasing with each year. Like crazy.
Which means that an article written today on something like Web 3.0 could be irrelevant by tomorrow if something like Web 4.0 pops its head out of the sand to say, boo!
Articles about phones are the easiest to see the problem in.
Even if you get the latest phone from this year, a new phone could come out by the second half of the year which makes it twice as slow.
For fiction, it’s a bit harder to sell.
A lot of people, though not all, read stories to find hope, escape their current reality, and/or go on a journey outside of themselves.
Fiction that grounds itself in the present, can easily dissuade readers from reading. I’ve avoided such books before. I’m not saying that they’re not written well, but I just don’t need to read them right now. Or maybe ever.
It was written for money and not for actual value.
This is the biggest issue. And the reason that many people probably don’t read that much.
We can tell.
And we know what content is. And the people who create them. They’re called “content creators.”
Content creators are an abomination to a lifelong reader (I realize that is very strong language; however based on my interactions with other lifelong readers, it’s pretty consistent).
Many articles on websites and blogospheres are written to get your attention. So that you can be sold something. And you don’t even need that thing.
I especially don’t like it when articles, store brands, news, listicles, and anything else that has a call to action are toted as being “stories.” I feel lied to. Or I feel like the creator was too lazy to figure out what they were actually writing about.
So I don’t read those. It’s not hard to tell which ones those are.
These are quickly forgotten and end up in the trash heaps of the world waiting for the apocalypse and the mass burning it will bring (it’s kinda cheaper that way).
When it comes to fiction, it’s even worse.
It’s already hard to ask me to buy a book. I have so many. And I only buy those I will read again. Because they provide me real value.
A swashbuckling adventure. A princess getting her happily ever after. Best friends turned rivals who end up saving the world anyways. Magic used well (which is rare).
Not written because the “creator” thought I was going to like it. But because the creator is really a storyteller mislabeled. And that storyteller wanted to tell you that story.
Those are the kinds of stories that readers would live for (they would not die for it; how would they read it?). But we’re not talking about those, since they don’t become yesterday’s news. They will live on.
There is a way to fix this potential irrelevancy of our writings.
Simple answer: do the opposite of all the problems (though you can still become irrelevant by doing things outside of writing that are problematic, or have poor writing skills).
It is very simple, though it may not be easy. I’ve gone to enough writing conventions to know that this is not easy. But if you want to be relevant for more than a day, then it’s something you need to consider.
Especially if you’re a storyteller.