Monthly Archives: August 2011

Why Content Writing?


I’ve been asked this question a lot lately. Why do I want to make a writing career out of writing “fluffy” articles about “How To Recycle a Modem” and “How To Cash a Jury-Duty Check.”

My response: “Why not?”

But, Quillie, you could be writing feature articles in big name magazines. You could be interviewing and writing about politicians, famous people, successful business magnates. You could write a best-selling novel…a Tony-winning play, an Emmy or Oscar-winning script…but instead you write, “What Determines If You Qualify For Rapid Refund”!

Why, Quillie, why?

My response: Because I want to, that’s why.

But…but…you could be making WAY more money than you are now! You could have bragging rights about where you’ve been published! You could be a success!

My response: Been there, did that. Got the t-shirt. Donated it to Goodwill. And I am a success, thank-you-very-much.

I’ve been around the freelance writing block more than once. I know the stores. I know the homes and the churches. I also know where the scary man with the van and the bag of candy is parked, the corners where the winos that just want my money slink out of, and where the smooth-talking Pimp likes to pick up the unsuspecting and naive, making big promises to make them a star if they’re nice to him for just a little while…

Yes, I know the business. Sometimes, I think I know it all too well.

So, why do I choose to write content when I could be writing 1,243,675 other things? What it really boils down to is this: I write content for two reasons. I enjoy it and it’s easy.

Yeah, I said it. It’s easy. Lemme say it again:

E-A-S-Y.

Now before you accuse me of taking the path of least resistance, let me make one thing perfectly clear: You’re right. I AM taking the path of least resistance. For once, I’m not killing myself to accomplish a monumental task. I’ve done hard. I  was good at hard.

But hard is, well, hard, and after a while, you get tired.

Hard work is hard work. Hard work makes you tired. Exhaustion from hard work can make you resentful…

Resentment of hard work can make you walk away from a career you loved…

For five years.

So, why did I make the leap from traditional freelancing to content writing?

Because I could. What the hard work taught me was how to optimize my time and turn my interests and talents into marketable areas. It taught me how to research quickly and effectively, write fast, and ask the right questions the first time. In other words, hard work taught me how to work smart.

I mean, jeez, people, of course I know I could be writing for national magazines and/or newspapers. Of course I could write a novel or a screenplay.

But I don’t want to. That’s not where my heart is right now.

For now, I enjoy answering the easy questions. If someone wants to know how their social security benefits are calculated, I am more than happy to answer that question. If a small business owner is struggling to choose the proper organizational structure, I’m thrilled to explain his options.

Because what is easy for me to explain might be causing others to lose sleep while looking for that information. And I get a great sense of inner satisfaction knowing that I provided information to someone seeking an answer.

It ain’t about the Pulitzer, Emmy, Oscar or Tony for me. It’s not about being able to say, “I’ve got a feature in “——-” this month.”

It never was. Not to say one day it won’t be, but for now…

Life is easy, and I’m glad for that.

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This Is Why We Have Issues…


I just read an article about a television news report that made a 4-year sound like a future gangbanger.

Why is that newsworthy for a writer’s blog? Well, I’ll tell you why.

Better yet, go read/hear for yourself.

If the above link doesn’t work, follow this:

Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

OK — up to speed? Good.

Now, as if the original newstory was not bad enough — it’s the apology I want to focus on here. It was on the page for the above link, but in case you didn’t see it, here it is:

We accept responsibility for the mistakes that were made, both in the reporting and editing of the story. The video of the child should not have aired. As soon as news management identified the problem, they took immediate steps to ensure that the video would not air in subsequent newscasts. In addition, we have followed up with our employees to make sure that we all have learned from the mistakes that were made.

source: http://gawker.com/5826178/tv-station-makes-little-law+abiding-boy-sound-thuggish

I’m gonna use an old english class exercise called parsing, but instead of telling you where the subjects and verbs are, I’m going to tell you where the stupidity in this statement exists.

We accept responsibility for the mistakes that were made, both in the reporting and editing of the story.

Gee, isn’t that nice! Sure you don’t want to blame his parents, the astrological alignment of the stars or the NBA lockout?

The video of the child should not have aired.

Um, no. The issue isn’t that the video aired, the issue is that you made him sound like a wannabe gang-banger instead of an aspiring police officer. Cuz, ya know, every black kid wants to BE in prison, not the guys putting criminals in them.

 As soon as news management identified the problem, they took immediate steps to ensure that the video would not air in subsequent newscasts. 

Read: “As soon as we realized that black people watched the news, got pissed, called the NAACP and blew up our telephone lines, we knew the joke wasn’t funny to anyone but us.”

In addition, we have followed up with our employees to make sure that we all have learned from the mistakes that were made.

Hum…I’m guessing a day-long training seminar on cultural diversity and racial sensitivity, followed by several free spots for the NAACP, and a couple of donations to inner city schools should balance it all out. Oh, and a photo op of the kid meeting a police officer, of course. He’ll be in the cops arms, wearing his hat. It’ll be all warm and fuzzy. Can’t wait to see the video on YouTube.

Now, there is NO way, NO how I will ever believe that the edits for the video were a mistake. Too many people have a hand in making newscasts for that to have gone through without at least one person’s approval. Hell, I can’t write an article on “How To Make a Ham Sandwich” without needing approval from three editors.

And this is why writers and the media in general are losing credibility daily. A quote from a kid about having a gun when he grows up is newsworthy. The fact that he’d have a gun because he would be a police officer is not. Who has time to tell the truth — we have a general public to frighten inform!  Truth be damned.

Most days I’m proud to be a writer and part of the media. Today is not one of them.

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