In a given week, I read quite a few posts on Medium, and have been for a while. I am only offering this as free advice, feeling the urgency: stop with the damn numbering!
It seems evident a number of you never took a journalism course, nor wrote for your high school newspaper. Otherwise, by now you’d have learned better strategies for headline writing. Numbering your pet peeves isn’t one of them. Save those submissions for Twitter and People Magazine and the NY Post. Medium writers should be a cut above.
Beyond the fact that Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears are such yesterday’s news, really people, show some creativity. If you can’t find a better way to highlight your bit, hire a damn headline writer — they’re found on Reddit. Or maybe writing just isn’t for you.
I bet that last one hurt. From just one day’s Medium email, I garnered the following:
6 Other Things Justin Timberlake Should Apologize for, Ranked
Dermatologists debunk 10 myths about washing your face
15 Mini Things That Can Instantly Make You Less Likable
The 6 Most Disturbing Elements of the Britney Spears Documentary
My Husband Didn’t Notice My Butt Scrunch Leggings So I Totaled His Car
OK, the last one by Shani Silver is spectacularly funny — and her post is funnier still— I thew it in to see if you read this far. But notice, it doesn’t require one single bit of enumeration. See how easy this is? So in descending order, I offer the ten — make that six— best ways to rid yourself of a seriously lame crutch:
- Just say no!
- Friends don’t let friends write lists.
- If you can’t keep track of how many points you’re making, you’re making too many. Keep it to three or less.
- Just because the Washington Post loves these, it doesn’t win them Pulitzers.
- Essay Writing 101: opening hook, middle build, conclusion — then get the hell out.
- How many lists do you think Shakespeare ever wrote?