Word Count.

I haven’t written on this site for quite some time; normally, I go through the motions of cross posting content from Recruiting Daily, which gets all my original content since, well, they pay my salary, but recently that platform has become ubiquitous enough where it seems a bit redundant these days.

The truth of the matter is, I feel like I owe the world a giant apology for underachieving of late. I know that’s not entirely the case, but for the first time in my life, really, the work has finally caught up to me. It’s not so much that I’ve lost my passion, or am burnt out – it’s just that I have suddenly found myself unable to pull all nighters any more. The single time of the day I could previously catch up and be productive has become impossible for me. The reason, of course, is because I am getting old.

FIRME LA DOUCHE…

In which the writer crafts a carefully disguised apologia for his being basically the worst. 

I’ve been doing this a decade now, as I’ve written before. Hell, I’ve written everything before, really. I recently spoke to a friend of mine, a tenured professor, who had just finished his output for the f-ing year: a 20,000 word paper analyzing, I shit you not, Francis Ford Coppola’s descent into madness.

Fun fact: dude makes a mean merlot, but he also took enough lithium to make the movie Jack at some point in his late career, which should probably be something the Scientologists feature more prominently in the Psychiatry: An Industry of Death museum (where I went way too much back in the day, as it was hilarious).

But the point is, this tenured professor literally wrote 20,000 words in some journal with some generic name like, “American Cinema Journal for Contemporary Filmmaking and Narrative Storytelling.” That’s a house number, but my point is, for those 20,000 words read by, what, maybe 30 people who have multiple PhDs, this dude gets to keep tenure.

I write 20,000 words every. single. week. And while the beat I cover is obscure, I’m betting it gets better distribution than some ghetto ass version of Cahiers Du Cinema. You know what I get in return? I get to start the fuck over on Monday.

As you can probably tell from the above, if not from my constant mentioning of it as a way to validate my existence and tamp up the many insecurities that come with being described as “the bad boy of recruiting,” (hurled my way more often than I’d like of late), I used to be a screenwriter (I sucked).

Still, to this day, that means editing content, for me, is a Page 1 rewrite. I don’t copy edit and fix typos. I punch it up, change the structure, polish it for style. I hate myself, but I can’t help myself. It’s just something I have to do – it’s probably an ego thing, frankly, to mark my territory when I’m more or less supposed to be an intermediary.

Sorry, not sorry.

The result is that extensive rewriting, despite increasing evidence that the returns of this investment of time are diminishing, is that I more or less do a William Goldman on every post I get from the Damons and Afflecks out there. They get Oscars, I get the satisfaction of a job well done. That’s always been my deal, you know.

Everyone out there promises “exposure” instead of American dollars to write for their site, and to this day I get solicited for original content because it’ll get me the “exposure” I need, which is decidedly not a problem I’d say I have – in fact, the opposite is true, much to the detriment of getting shit done. I try to give writers the best sample possible and to make good work great, and that, to me, is a value exchange far superior than some amorphous promise. Invariably, if both the writer and editor do our jobs, then the exposure happens organically.

Oh, mind you, those 20,000 words are only content I don’t byline. Let’s add in another 5,000 words or so for the 2-3 original posts I’m on the hook for every week. That’s 25,000 words – last week, it was 27, I track these things – and, for basis of comparison, a book runs around 30,000 words. So, I’m writing a book a week.

The problem is this takes an obviously huge amount of time, and for some reason, I have to write in total isolation, hence the sorely missed respite when the east coast shut down I used to enjoy when I lived in LA, or the all nighters I was able to pull until about 6 months ago when the conference calls and messages finally stopped. I am cool with this, though, because I think, most of the time, I kinda make a difference.

True story: last week I met some guy who purportedly flew in all the way from Brisbane to SF to meet me. I would agree that’s probably complete BS, except I heard this both from him and about 6 other people independently, all of whom were frantically trying to set up a meeting between the two of us. This is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.

Mate, I know you’re reading this, and I want you to know that I think you flying across the Pacific and back was a complete waste of time if the biggest inducement was our brief meeting. PS: bring Tim Tams (I kid, not really). But you said something to me when we were talking that actually meant a lot more to me than your likely hyperbolized story of how I was the primary inducement to come halfway around the world.

You said to me: “I have a bunch of recruiters who are younger or who are just starting out working for me, and I always turn them onto your stuff, because it’s real talk, they can understand it, and it helps them learn about recruiting way better than all the other crap out there.”

I’m probably making that way too glowing, but he did call my writing “brilliant” several times, and therefore, I feel completely justified in using that brilliance for poetic license. Goodonya, mate – that my random ass attempts at hitting word count can make some sort of a difference half the world away is really more than any writer could ever ask for.

And I needed that validation more than you could know.

See, these days, I still write, but I feel worthless. The better we do business wise, the more work stacks up. The more emails go unanswered. The further behind I get. I miss deadlines. I miss opportunities. I miss a whole helluva lot of sleep, frankly.

I am perpetually stuck in mid term week back in high school, with a bunch of essays due that there isn’t enough time to write, much less read the material and do the research you need to pass. And yet, somehow, it gets done.

It’s just these days, it’s a bit slower.

So if I haven’t been responding to your messages, your emails, whatever, look: it’s really nothing personal. I need to get my shit together. Please don’t take it personally, and I’m not ghosting you. I’m just hoping one of these days, things slow down a little bit.

For now, if you reach out and don’t hear back, I’m sorry. I know I suck. But I’m going to try to get my shit together, starting today. Of course, I said that yesterday, too.

Either way, if you get a link to this post in response to an e-mail which is like 3 months behind, please know that I got sick of saying I’m sorry, and, well, this seemed like a way more expedient way to tell you what’s up, and that I’m trying my best, working my ass off, and know it’s not you, it’s me.

1496 Words. 

2 Comments on “Word Count.

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