I have a hard time choosing titles for things: essays, lists, email subject lines, and especially blog posts. I know that the title shapes the perception of the content, and this is intimidating.
It’s about presentation, and whether or not a potential reader will enter in for more information, or if the title is enough to show them that they don’t want to see any more. It’s like judging a book by its cover, only it’s judging a blog post by its title. It’s not fair but it happens.
It feels so high-stakes sometimes to choose a phrase of just a few words that represents all that I have to say. I don’t want to skimp on anything. I want to make sure everything I have to say is represented fully and fairly.
My words are so close to my heart. I don’t want to put them in a position where they could be rejected. (I don’t want to put myself in a position where I could be rejected, and my words feel like an extension of myself.) I don’t want to send them out into the world unless I know they have a fighting chance.
I don’t think there’s a solution to this or even if it’s a real problem, but it’s a thing, and I think about it a lot. I want to make sure my words are best represented. Other people make this look so easy and thoughtless.
It’s like the title is bait but you can’t always catch a fish, you know?
It’s like sending out a resume or going on a first date where presentation is everything. The goal is to come off as confident but not cocky, independent but not standoffish, open-minded but not a follower, smart but not a jerk about it, caring but not too emotional, humble and kind. Somehow it works out.