Earlier this month, my first article appeared on Thought Catalog. Founded in 2010, Thought Catalog has a list of 5 ideals that shape what they want their site to showcase. Basically, they want to be a catalog of thoughts, from different types of people and varying opinions.
They've become popular over the years, with over 330,000 followers on Twitter and above 300,000 fans on Facebook. One thing that happens when something becomes too mainstream is that it becomes too mainstream. When everybody likes something, then things are showcased in a manner for everybody to like it.
"What's wrong with that, Chris?"
Well, for the most part, everybody is stupid and I don't like them.
With the rise of the Thought Catalog, we saw the rise of the "Listicle." On the whole, I don't have a problem with that. It's the combination of an article and a list. What you would have normally written out, you condense into a few key points and leave it at that.
Some have accused it of being lazy writing. I look at it the same way one looks at alcohol. A little bit here and there can actually be healthy for you. The problem is that we consume too much to our detriment.
People were getting substandard information and thinking the people giving them this information were amazing. I saw writers for Thought Catalog accumulating thousands of Twitter followers for writing dumb shit and being lauded as a genius.
I thought to myself, "I can do this. And I can do it a lot better than everybody else." When I'm confident in myself, I have a bit of an ego problem.
So, I started writing and I started sending things in. After 5 articles and 2 months, I had not heard anything back. I looked through the list of writers on the site and saw one who requested people to send her submissions. So, I emailed her and told her that nobody had been replying to me. She forwarded my email to the guy who runs Thought Catalog - also named Chris - and I was published before that day was over.
I had tried to turn my earlier rejections into a positive. I was telling myself that I would have a lot of great content for the second volume of B-Sides, my series of books featuring unpublished works and essays. Click here to purchase volume one, if you have a Kindle device or app.
But, now they're publishing my works and I don't have as much unpublished stuff for B-Sides, vol. 02. Oh well, I'd rather have 300,000+ read it for free than a handful of friends who buy it.
What I've written so far is below.
Weezer Makes The Greatest Music Videos In The World And This Is Why ... This was after my third or fourth "rejection," which actually just means they had gotten lost in the Internet-sphere somewhere and nobody had seen them. I came up with a formula for what made a good Thought Catalog article: 1) A list and 2) Saying something subjective but making it an absolute. I decided to write about Weezer because I felt like the typical TC audience I wrote about earlier didn't know how good they were.
That Time I Chickened Out Of A Threesome ... For some people, I guess that's like an ultimate fantasy for them. I don't know. It's never been that way for me. If I hadn't been a little uncomfortable, I would have gone through with it. There were two things stopping me: I was drunk and she wasn't, and I knew she had a crush on the other guy involved. I didn't want her first thought to be, "He finally fucked me! And, then Chris did too..." I've revealed the identities to a few friends who know the others involved and it's given them a new appreciation for the story. Funny note: My mom has mentioned all of my Thought Catalog articles to me except for this one...
Confessions Of A Recovering Gamer ... I've gotten a lot of positive feedback from friends about this one. And, I honestly think it's the weakest piece I've written for Thought Catalog. I had big ideas for it, then realized after my cool introduction that I didn't have a strong body. So, I threw some stuff together about how my addictive personality won't let me play video games. Then I close with a lame joke(?) about how I've decided to drink a lot because I need at least one vice.
My Friend Died And Nobody Cared ... That's what I wanted this piece titled, but I forgot to send them one so they called it "I Can't Believe Sarah Died This Way." She was a girl I knew in high school and we drifted apart over the years. She was murdered by her husband in 2008. Watching the play "The Laramie Project" last November caused me to think about her for the first time in a while. I posted a link to the article on Facebook and a few friends from high school who knew her have left some very nice comments.
I have a few others things written that I haven't sent in yet and also a few ideas for things to write that I haven't started yet. I'll keep you guys updated on all of that.