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The Art of Writing About Nothing

There is something seriously wrong with my personality. For the life of me I just can’t do it. What, you may be asking. Well, having read thousands of articles over the years I’ve come to the realization the 90% of them say nothing extremely well. In fact, they say nothing so well they often convince people to buy what they selling with hopes that the something being bought will actually be something. Due to some flaw in my personality, I can’t write about nothing and feel sadly unable to reap the huge cash rewards enjoyed by the masters of nothingness. So this article is written with the high hopes that by teaching you this skill that somehow by some miracle the skill will also be passed onto me.
I’ll break this into the following useful subjects any which of them can make you quite successful at proficiently writing about nothing:

  1. Being Specifically Vague
  2. Painting the Picture
  3. Fill in the Blank
  4. Common Sense Made Uncommon
  5. Teaser Language
  6. It’s all about the Benjamins
  7. Quote someone famous

Being Specifically Vague
One of the biggest mistakes I make is that I am too direct. If it is a bull testicle, I will say it is one, rather than calling it a Prairie Oyster. To write about nothing you need to define the subject clearly in heads of the reader without telling them specifically what it is. By using concrete terms vaguely you can confuse the reader in believing they are actually learning something. For example you could say: the Prairie Oyster is harvested from the Alberta prairies. The delicious and precious piece of meat is known as a delicacy of the western and mid-western, semi-arid grasslands of North America. Notice I never say what the meat is or what part of a bull’s anatomy it comes from, yet I mention real things that it is meat and that it comes from places like Alberta. By naming specific places, people, or things it sounds informative; yet, wouldn’t you really want to know it’s a bull testicle before eating it.

Painting the Picture
Colorful words are one of the best tactics used to write about nothing well. An article I read recently used words like: marketing battlefield, cash war, and cash cannon. The words are great for creating a mental picture of the war-like challenges posed by marketers today.. The writer never specifically explains what the real challenges marketers face or even what tools marketers employ to win the war.  Sadly, the writer never actually says how to build a cash cannon. I personally was hoping to get the blueprints for it because it sounds quite handy. Often coining a phrase or cool new expression (like “cash cannon”) can be really effective means of creating a brand and painting a picture.

Fill in the Blank
If you have become a true master of writing on nothing, then your articles can easily achieve the fill in the blank test. Basically the article needs to talk about “how to achieve success in __________” or “top ten things you need to __________ “, where the blank can be filled with any keyword. Achieving this is gold on the web where spewing out content is a necessary evil.

Common Sense Made Uncommon
A teacher once told me an expert is someone who is from another place and carries a briefcase. The point was anyone can claim that they are an expert. If they aren’t someone you already know, it’s hard to deny that they aren’t one. When an expert says something which is actually common sense or common knowledge somehow is taken as expert advice. My best example of this is Dr. Phil. Sorry if you are a fan but he drives me nuts. He gives such common sense advice as if he is some wise old sage. But he does exactly what the best nothingness writers do which is to write take common sense and make it uncommon.

Teaser Language
Back in the days when burlesque was a popular forbidden fruit, it was all about having women tease their audiences. The ones who were the most successful weren’t the ones who bared it all, but were the ones that showed nothing at all. They were so good at teasing one would leave believing they just experienced the most sexually explicit show ever.  Good writers can do the same. They tease the reader about showing some marketing secret and business insider’s tip without ever letting go of any precious information. Words like “secret”, “illegal”, “forbidden”, “insider” or saying “not to be shared” all achieve this effect.

It’s all about the Benjamins
Greed is a powerful force. Sometimes just talking about how much money people can make or giving “real” examples of past success stories passes as content. People love money so much so that any hint that they can make lots of it will make them spend lots of it. Mentioning money is possibly the greatness and easiest trick used to write about nothing.

Quote Someone Famous
Everyone loves a quote. In fact, Winston Churchill once said “It is a good thing for an educated man to read books of quotations.” The point is quotes make the writer sound educated and informative without having to be either. A good quote often hides a lack of knowledge on the subject. So if you are writing and at a real loss for words, just remember quote someone famous. I just hope that someone is me.
Or as Mark Twain once said “I was gratified to be able to answer promptly. I said I don’t know.”

Well I hope that you learned a lot of nothing from this 😉

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Any questions, please feel free to contact me at 905-417-9470 or by email at allanp73@gmail.com

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