I was asked to be featured on 5thingstodotoday.com with five of my own personal suggestions, a list of five short steps that relates to the theme of my blog (epsilon4.wordpress.com). This proved to be more difficult than I initially imagined because my blog does not have a single consistent theme. I could write about writing, because that is certainly something of which I do a lot (in fact everything that I have written in my blog involves writing: writing written by myself, the writer). No, I won’t do that. I honestly don’t know one useful tip about writing, most of the time I’m just winging it. I could write something inspirational, something motivational, something that will make you want to run to the top of a big flight of steps to the theme song of Rocky. No, I don’t care about your hopes and dreams. Let’s keep this about me, shall we?
Ah, yes! What better way to represent the noble, contrafibulatory mission of The Epsilon IV Project than with a five-step guide to your very own five-step guide!
Brought to you by the Mind of Jon Ball.
1. Number your steps. ALWAYS number your steps. If you don’t number your steps, you significantly reduce the accessibility of your five-step guide. If your reader loses his place, he won’t be able to find it again as quickly because numbers make things easy to find and keep track of. That’s why numbers were invented in the first place. If someone asks your reader which step he is on, he will have to explain the step instead of simply stating the number of the step. This takes away from the time your reader could be spending following your five steps.
2. Number your steps in order. Obviously you shouldn’t jumble up the numbers (that would be moronic), but don’t count backwards either. You aren’t launching a rocket into space, you are writing a five-step guide. This isn’t rocket science. Rocket scientists earn much more respect and a higher salary than you ever will. Keep that in mind.
3. Write about something people want to read. No one wants or needs to know the five steps to storing your collection of nail clippings correctly. That’s gross. Write about something interesting or useful, something that appeals to a variety of people, like a five-step guide to doing well in a job interview.
4. Write about something that hasn’t been done before. There are a million and one five-step guides to “lose weight fast!” or “find true love!” floating around on the Internet. Be creative. Be different. Write a five step guide to avoiding true love at all costs. “Gain 50 lbs and unleash your inner fat girl in five easy steps” probably hasn’t been done before. Break through the mold society has cast and do something new. Even if you are bent on writing the same old five-step routine, use a controversial or catchy title that stands out. That way your viewers won’t realize you are using recycled material until they have already clicked the link to your site. Suckers.
5. Use humor in your five-step guide. The generations of the information age are easily bored and don’t have time for anything. We expect instant enjoyment from anything we encounter, especially if it involves the effort of reading. Our generation has television. Your picture-less, five hundred word guide to doing some task has to compete with the razzle-dazzle of television. If your “Five ways to prune a tomato plant” is completely void of humor, you are only appealing to the old people who lived in simpler, less ADHD times. Eventually those people are going to die out, and then you won’t have an audience. Think of the future.
I hope this guide has been helpful. For more information, check out my next installment of superfluous guides, “So you can’t fit everything into five steps? 12 easy steps to 12 easy steps: a guide to adding seven steps”, coming soon to The Epsilon IV Project.