Even Haters Have Some Love To Give.
I once received some sage advice once from Matt Weiner, the creator of Mad Men, when we were trying to break my habit of binge writing, a habit which had gotten me into a little bit of trouble on a pretty painful rewrite.
“You only have 5 good hours of work in you in a day,” he said. “You try to write any more than that, you’re either wasting your time or your editor’s.”
Per that little lead, I was also once told by Quentin Tarantino that namedropping makes you kind of a douche. Guilty as charged.
In the decade since then, he’s gone onto win enough Emmys (and followers) to become something of a household name, assuming that household subscribes to Vanity Fair or Variety. I’ve gone onto…well, this.
But I still haven’t learned how to stop binge writing. Which is probably a good thing. See, the writing that I have been doing is cranking out corporate copy for a bunch of clients. Fun stuff like whitepapers, e-books and promoted blog posts. For this, I make a small killing – or at least, my employers do.
I’m a salary man, after all, but the fact I get paid to write, even though I hate writing, still boggles my mind. And the market for that writing has picked up considerably of late. I devote my five good hours to writing the stuff that pays my rent, meaning my bylines aren’t as ubiquitous as they were even a couple months ago.
I’m writing more than I ever have before, but frustratingly, precious little of that output is appearing on my personal blog. I only put stuff on here that I’m proud of or is personal to me, as a policy. While this may surreally be one of WordPress’ top 15 business blogs, it was started as a portfolio site, and I’d like it to stay that way.
That means that a lot of what I post out there in the B2B universe doesn’t make it up here, because I write some god awful content to fulfill various obligations, and while it’s never really bad, it’s the content equivalent of white noise.
Posts I’ve been forced to write professionally, but that I could give two shits about personally, include such riveting and edgy topics as How Work Environments Impact Employee Productivity or Offer Negotiation Strategies: When Compensation Isn’t Enough. That’s just in the last couple of weeks, by the way.
The first was written for a retailer who happens to sell office furniture; the latter, for a recognition and rewards provider. Both of these puff pieces had pretty obvious agendas, but as those animals on the Flintstones always say, “It’s a Living.” And while pimping might not, indeed, be easy, being a whore sure is.
Looking for some good copy, big boy? You’ve come to the right place. All cash up front, and I don’t do quickies, but accommodate pretty much any request, so long as it doesn’t include info graphics. Sure, I have no self respect, but self-respect doesn’t keep the lights on.
Although we all know I’m not trying to pay my way through med school. I’m just trying to get by. So the purpose of this post is two fold:
- To apologize for the atrocious and heinous way in which I’ve prostituted myself of late, although I’m not really sorry in the least, because if I didn’t whore myself out as a writer, I’d probably have to get a real job. But I know that there are some expectations involved when I put something up, even if it’s only intrinsic
- To explain why this site hasn’t gotten any love of late.
As I said earlier, the rules are that I either have to be proud of content for it to show up here, or it has to be personal, and this post obviously aligns with the latter. Be glad I’m selective with what I repurpose on here, or else you’d hate me even more than you already do. So indulge me.
I don’t write personal stuff very often, but I probably should. It’s this sort of shit that got me the contracts sort of shit in the first place. But now, that shit pays my salary. So, shit.
But while I’m being personal, I also wanted to let everyone know how grateful I am for the past year. It’s been pretty surreal (humble brag), frankly. I’ve gotten engaged to the world’s most bad ass woman, adopted the world’s cutest puppy, fulfilled my lifelong dream of living in a train station (albeit more hipster than hobo), and built a pretty significant book of business.
Side note 1: I spent a decade trying to avoid entrepreneurship only to discover, turns out, I’m actually pretty good at it, even with a product as shitty as my “personal brand.”
I got paid to travel the world and tweet it, from Helsinki to Sydney and everywhere in between, including the Wichita Sheraton. No matter where I go, though, I meet people who actually read my stuff, which is crazy to me.
There’s something surreal about having someone you’ve never met come up to you in Amsterdam or Auckland who know more about what I’ve written than I do. Hell if I remember most of this stuff, but someone does, which is awesome. Because, as this post shows, the writing I do for myself is entirely self-indulgent.
Side note 2: All of this makes it hard to stay angry all the time, and this general blessed bliss is kind of a professional liability.
But since it’s New Year’s Eve, and I’m closing out one of the best years of my life, I thought that it might be appropriate to get one more post in to say thanks for reading my stuff. Because even if you’re rolling your eyes right now, you’re still the reason that I’m truly happy for the first time, in, well, ever – I couldn’t be so blessed if no one read my stuff, even at its most specious or sardonic.
Thanks. For reals, though.
And with that, I do believe my five good hours are up for the day.