Today will be a workday for assignments. I picked up five last night. It is very tough to get started on them sometimes, mostly because of how dry they are and how slow the clients are to buy them once they are done. I still have $700 worth of stuff sitting in queue from Memorial Day weekend and earlier. Summertime is especially rough, and with inflation and fuel prices being so crazy right now, clients are pretty tight-fisted. But, I have the work to do and I can expect it to pay off…eventually.
Procrastination is very real with me, and as much as I dislike writing posts for law firms about slip and fall injuries or traumatic brain injuries, it beats the alternative, which is sitting on my ass, working for someone else who gets to treat me like garbage while they get to live their best life at my expense. If the work is there, I pick it up. If I choose to ignore it, that is on me. But at least I don’t have some morbidly obese albino yelling at me every six months for my performance review.
The other day, I was visiting my dad and he desperately wanted to give me a copy of the local paper. “Did you see they have a job with the town posted? You need to apply for that!” When I asked him what it was, he said it was doing things around town like fixing stop signs, filling potholes, and painting curbs. I thanked him and said no thanks. I already have a job. It’s just different from what people are used to. I work for myself. Some weeks are better than others, sure, but writing is what I was trained to do and it is what I want to do. The other job was safe in my dad’s mind, because punching a clock makes sense. Right now, I’m struggling, but I feel fulfilled. My work has meaning. Yes, even when I write about motorcycle accidents. Hey, as much as I’ve paid lawyers over the last ten years, I kinda like the idea of billing them for once!
What I do worry about is what is coming. A Recession. Let’s be honest. Probably a full-on Depression. I’m not sure where writers stand in that whole mess, but I can guarantee as cheap as off-shore services are to write copy, and as tempting as AI programs are for people needing content, there is NO substitute for something an actual writer has created. I don’t care what your SEO app says.
SEO and Robots
Here’s a brief rant about that. I got a rejection from a law firm because someone else’s SEO content scored higher than mine. Does anyone else remember that scene in Dead Poets Society when Robin Williams tells them to rip out the pages? The reason for that was even back in the mid 20th Century, some jackass decided to apply mathematics to the quality of literature and poetry. That’s what algorithms are. So these companies go ape-shit for what scores higher. Of course their keywords and content are always things like BEST ORTHODONTIST ZEPHYRHILLS or some other nonsensical crap that Google will home in on. These are the same customers who go by strict Search Engine Optimization recommendations from their algorithm and you get 20 keywords or phrases just as stupid as that just to pump up their numbers. The truth of it is that Google might search that shit out when you plug in your keywords and bring it up, but it is nearly impossible for the content to be organic, much less interesting, for return readership. But, people just aren’t reading like they used to. They have zero attention spans(myself included).
I have actually turned down work before because the client wanted the SEO numbers first and foremost, while the copy I wrote got turned into garbage just to appease the algorithm. That was the hardest $200 I’ve ever gotten out of two 1000 word posts.
There is a catalog out there called The Sportsman’s Guide and for decades it has been called the Fun to Read Catalog. It used to be army surplus but has now gone the way of outdoorsman gear. It is still fun to read. Every product description has the same narrative voice. Each item has a story and convinces you that this item is going to be awesome because it has character. I love writing stuff like that. Because I love READING stuff like that.
I worry about what our dependency on technology is doing to the human race. I entered a conversation today on a forum for the agency that I find assignments through about cursive. One person talked about how they would like their babies to be able to read the Declaration of Independence itself because they know how to read cursive. Cursive has been cut out of the curriculum of most schools now. It’s almost as dead as Latin at this point.
It concerns me less that the next generation won’t be able to read the primary sources such as the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution than it does they are effectively severed from nearly all previous generations by language.
If you have stacks of old letters saved by your grandma, your children won’t be able to read them. They are cut off from their heritage, their identity, and their history if they don’t have access to these family documents. I think our society wants it that way. If I sound a little woo-woo and Conspiratorial, consider what our government has done to every group of people they have wanted to control since the beginning. They cut the people off from their culture. Whether it is Residential Schools, forbidding people to speak their native tongue, eliminating foreign translations of religious texts, and removing art and expression from the public that doesn’t fit the narrative. When you can alienate entire generations of ancestors from children, you get to fill the vacuum with whatever the hell you want them to believe.
My kids don’t know cursive. I would have loved to have taught them, but I was busy working my ass off at a job that used me up for twenty years, paying just enough to scrape by every month (while the mucky-muckys flew to Thailand every month). See now why I’m not so eager to go right back into something like that unless I absolutely have to?
Anyway, it’s time to work on my assignments.