Tag Archives: snarky

If you’re snarky and you know it write a post…


I’m in a strange place today. Not in a bad mood, not in a good mood, but in some sort of mood nonetheless. When I’m in this kind of mood, I tend to be snarky.

For those not in-the-know, snark is annoyed sarcasm wrapped in humor. I’m quite frequently sarcastic (you know, in case you didn’t get the memo), and annoyance and I go way back, so snark and I being acquainted should come to a shock to no one. But today, I decided to share my snark in a whole new way. Because I’m a giver. Here are a few of my snarly comments about the happenings of the day so far:

(Sidenote: how many of you are regretting being happy that I’m blogging again? Careful what you wish for, eh? 😉 )

Email subject line: How long is a real novel?

My snarky response: One word longer than a fake one.

*****

Post on Facebook from Allen B. West calling Bernie Sanders a democratic socialist

Why can’t you be more like your wife? You sir, are an idiot. Democratic socialist =/= social democrat. If you can’t make a point without lying, then stay dull and quiet.

******

Email from potential client: I need 500 words with the keyword phrase used 10 times (the phrase was six words long and ridiculous). I’ll pay you $5.

My response: Yeah, no…that’s not even realistic.

Reply: Why do you writers keep turning down this gig? It’s not hard to throw the keywords phrase in.

My response: You really think the keyword phrase is the issue? Don’t get me wrong, 12 percent of your copy being keywords is a bit ridic, but only wanting to pay $5 is more of an issue.

Reply: Okay, so make it 600 words. For $6.

My response: We’re done here.

*******

Guy at gas station: You gettin’ gas? (I’m standing next to the car, nozzle in gas tank)

Me: Nope. Glitter. My car is too fabulous for gas.

*****

Phone call from mystery shop scheduler:

Scheduler: hey Kim, is there any way you can squeeze in an emergency shop?

Me: When?

Scheduler: Today.

Me: Where?

Scheduler: Columbus. It has to be done by 3 pm.

Me: It’s 1:30.

Scheduler: Is that a problem? I see you’re in WV and OH is right next to it.

Me: It’s two hours from here.

Scheduler: Not according to our tool.

Me: According to your tool, I’m five miles from my house, even though I’m sitting in it. Trust me, it’s two hours away.

Scheduler: <getting annoyed> According to our tool, it’s only 45 miles from you. If you don’t want to do it you don’t have to lie about it.

Me: You need to put a “1” in front of that 45 lady. And you’re right, I don’t want to do it, but it’s not because of the distance. It’s because the only successful tool in the situation is you.

I’m pretty sure I’m not safe for polite society today, so I’m just gonna color and call it a day.

Jpeg

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Get Involved!


In case you haven’t heard, tomorrow is going to be a big day for the Internet. Wikipedia, Readdit, and other pretty popular sites are gonna go black for 24 hours to protest SOPA/PIPA.

Don’t know what that is? Read about it here and here.

(Hope you did that quickly, since they were Wikipedia pages. Ha ha.)

Seriously — read about it here. And check out a video about it here.

I don’t do censorship in ANY sense — when the KKK wanted to protest in my hometown, I was all for it, because it meant I could stand across the street and heckle them.  Westboro Baptist Church? Let ’em protest and hope a house or one of those frozen blocks of airplane waste fall on their heads. If they are allowed to say what they want, then that means I’m still allowed to as well, and you all know how I love to express myself.

In short (yeah, I know too late, but stay with me!), SOPA and PIPA are censorship and blacklisting. I’m not for either of those things. And you shouldn’t be either!

So, thanks to WordPress, who is also a participant in the Blackout, The Classic Quill will be taking part in the formal protest. From 8am to 8pm tomorrow, you will be greeted with a message instead of some snarky remark from me. You’ll live, and I promise to come back with some extra snarky goodness tomorrow night!

Til then, if you can find a way to participate, you should, because this involves all of us, and we should all stand up for our Internet freedoms.

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It Could Be Worse


So, today has been a struggle writing-wise for me today. I’ve just not been “into it”, and have only accomplished a fraction of what I needed to get done today.

But that’s okay, cuz ya know, sometimes it happens. Sometimes the words just won’t flow. The ideas are stuck…just out of the reach of your fingertips. It’s frustrating, but sometimes it’s part of this life. Not every word you write will be brilliant. Sometimes the things you write will be utter rubbish.

But no matter how bad a writing day you’re having, someone else is having a worse day. And for the really unfortunate, some of the greatest writing guffaws actually make it to print. So, in honor of a lousy writing day, and in the hopes of a better one tomorrow, I offer you “When Headlines Go Wrong” aka “Hey, things could be worse, this could have been YOUR headline.

And because I want to retain my “Snarky” attitude, I’ve included comments. Cuz, that’s how I roll.

Man Kills Self Before Shooting Wife and Daughter (Wait…how does THAT work? Was a seance involved?)

Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says  (Other than the plane crashing, I can’t imagine what else could have gone wrong…)

Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers  (Wow…I guess a ticket just doesn’t cut it any more…)

Miners Refuse to Work after Death (So much for RIP…)
Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant (And what happens if they fail…or succeed?)
War Dims Hope for Peace (Yeah, that’s usually how it works…)
If Strike Isn’t Settled Quickly, It May Last Awhile  (Nothing like a good dose of stating the obvious!)
Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures (Uh huh…)
Enfield ( London ) Couple Slain; Police Suspect Homicide (Nah, it was the Masque of the Red Death)
Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges (Next time, try cement!)
Man Struck By Lightning: Faces Battery Charge (I got nothing for this other than *groan*)
New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group (Big Macs for everyone!)
Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft (Well, they shouldn’t have pulled his finger!)
Kids Make Nutritious Snacks (Yeah, but they’re quick, crafty and hard to kill…)
Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half  (Well, that’s one way to decrease the dropout rate…)
Chainsaw Massacre all over again! (Wait — it happened before?)
Hospitals are Sued by 7 Foot Doctors (Next – legislation requiring all hospital ceilings be at least 7’1″.)
Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead (So, did that increase or decrease the occupancy?)

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Just To Reiterate…


For the last couple of hours, I have been reading posts in a clients’ forum. Many of you will know of whom I am referring. Those that don’t, keep reading anyway, because, well, just keep reading. 🙂

Anyhoo…today I’m reading such nuggets of wisdom like:

“The Internet is dead for writers. There is no longer money to be made writing on the Internet.”

“Blogs are dead. You can’t make money writing on or for a blog.”

“Content mills are dead. You won’t be able to make money writing for content mills.”

And from a previous day, “Generalists are dead. You can’t make money as a generalist writer.”

Hum…

So, what, I’m supposed to pick a topic and go door-to-door and ask to write about it for the business? Are you saying I HAVE to return to print media?

Oh, wait — “Print media is dying. Soon you won’t be able to make money writing for print publications.

Uh huh…

Do you all know how utterly idiotic you sound? You are basically saying that soon SOON…a writer will not be able to make a living…ANYWHERE, ANYHOW.

Really?

C’mon folks, enough with the doom and gloom. As long as there are people who need to say things, but don’t know how to say them, writers will have work.

As long as things need to be sold, writers will have work.

As long as people continue to read, writers will have work.

(OK — so that last one if kinda iffy, but I still stand by the statement, for now.)

But my point is, just because the genre is changing and just because the format is evolving, this does not mean writers are going to go the way of the dinosaur. Sure, there will be businesses who decide they can “do it better, since, really, how hard can writing be? I did get a B- in English in high school after all,”…

But the savvy business owner quickly comes to his senses and hires a professional to fix what he created.

Now, yes, this does mean that as writers, you might have to develop a new skill set, but hey, researching and learning new things and writing about them is a large part of what you do as a writer anyway, so this truly should not be a daunting task.

Especially if you’re…*gasp* a generalist. (Or a generalist with a specialist bent.)

So, folks, don’t put down your pens or close your word processing software just yet. We aren’t going anywhere!

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Day 11, Post…er…


I don’t know. I’m not really keeping count. I’m doing good to know it’s day 11. LOL

Spent the better part of the day applying for new gigs. Some were for content mills, others were for, well, not content mills.

Still haven’t decided to re-try my hand at feature writing. As much as I enjoy creating unique article angles, interviewing people and writing features, I really did not enjoy the adminstrative end of it all.

And no, I don’t mean the query letter. I got pretty darn good at writing those. It’s the other backend stuff that drove me batty. Namely, the waiting. Seems like I was always waiting for something.

Waiting to hear about a query.

Waiting to hear if the article was accepted.

Waiting to get paid.

Waiting. Always with the waiting.

Bleh.

Now, I’d imagine, I’d hope the process has sped up a bit, what with email, instant messaging and even Facebook, but the one drawback to writing for content mills (or at least the ones I write for) is the almost instant feedback/results and relatively quick payment for my work has made me impatient. We are living in an instant gratification world, and I’m an instant gratification girl.

(Sorry, Madonna).

But really — having to wait days, even *gasp* a week to hear back on a query might send me up a tree. Of course, I would have other things to work on while I waited, so maybe it wouldn’t be so bad. And I did just spend a day applying for other places to write and I haven’t melted into a puddle of goo yet, and it’s been all of 12 – 14 hours…

Hum…

Well, I think I’m going to continue pondering whether I’m going to go the features route again. Until then, Imma just keep on doin’ what I’ve been doin’.

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Not Doing the Work For You…


Remember yesterday I mentioned that one of my clients was scaling back and there was pandemonium and rioting in the virtual streets of that client’s writers forum?

Okay, so maybe that’s not exactly how I described it, but I should have…

Anyway, so now, some of the panic is wearing off and people are asking, “So where can I write now?” A few people are throwing out some ideas of places that are hiring others, but the vast majority (well, the majority that is responding to the posts. The vast majority of those reading the posts are keeping their mouths shut), are saying things such as “Google it.”

This is causing some a great deal of stress. Know what I say to that?

Dude, pick a new profession. If you can’t use Google to find work on the ‘net for WRITERS then maybe you should do something else. Like basket weaving. Or professional badminton. Anything but writing.

As I said in my last post, as writers we are expected to be able to research and write with authority. See, it’s the research part that’s important here. If you can’t (and I’m throwing out a bone here) type “write for us”, “needs writers” or “freelancers wanted” into a search engine and follow the links? How in the hell did you manage to write any article for anyone?

So, let’s just call it what it is: you want people who have spent hours upon HOURS searching for writing opportunities to just hand you that research because you asked for it.

Really? REALLY?

This ain’t The Waterboy. I’m not Coach Klein, and you ain’t Coach Beaulieu. I ain’t handing you my playbook (though I did have those pumps in several colors in the 90s…)

But I digress. If I did the work to find the leads to get me the jobs so I wasn’t in full-blown panic when I got the dreaded “We’re cutting back so maybe you should go with Plan B for your income needs.”, then you can too. Google IS your friend. So is Bing, and Yahoo and any other search engine that gets the job done for you.

So, go forth and be the good little researcher and writer I know you can be. And if you choose not to, that’s fine. That’s one less person in the freelancing pool.

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Long Live General Knowledge


So, I got an email from one of my regular clients yesterday, basically announcing that, although the sites I write for will live on, the opportunities to write for them are going to decrease dramatically. This email wasn’t much of a shock, because opportunities to write for this client have decreasing steadily for a while now.

Now, of course, I’m not the only freelancer who writes for them, so getting the email wasn’t a personal affront to me. However, others seemed to view it differently.

For months….months I have been preaching that it is folly and freelancing suicide to depend on just one client, or one type of client for your bread and butter. Companies fold. Companies scale back. Companies execs wake up one morning and decide they don’t like this group of people, and *poof* those people are on the outside, looking in.

I’m not going to lie and say that the scaling back hasn’t hurt. As I mentioned a while ago, I had grown too dependent on this client and other like it, so I’ve been working on branching out for a while now. So, although the news isn’t great, it’s not going to kill me either. I can find work elsewhere. I’ve got skills and enough general knowledge and experience in the freelancing world to make it work.

Which brings me to the reason for the title of this post. A few weeks back, a fellow writer made a statement that ruffled my feathers a bit. She stated that generalists were a dying breed and that the only way to make it as a freelancer was to carve a niche, and stick with it.

Uh, pardon me?

You’re trying to tell me that it’s not a good idea to have knowledge in a variety of areas? You really expect me to believe that it is better to stick to one knowledge base and skill set…as a freelance WRITER?

Um, that’s as suicidal as sticking to one client.

Now, I’m not saying it isn’t good to become an expert in an area and tout that expertise. I do it all the time with my small business knowledge and growing expertise in social media marketing. What I’m saying is that along with that expertise, it can’t hurt to be able to write on a variety of topics. So, yeah, I can write about small business startup concerns and how to launch a social media campaign with authority, but I can also explain how to troubleshoot a washer, how to get rid of a skunk smell in your furnace, and give men 10 reasons why they are still single. As writers, one of our strongest skills is the ability to research and write knowledgeably on a variety of topics. You cannot survive as a freelancer if you only write about one topic. Not to mention, it would make the freelancing gig incredibly boring…

And if I wanted to be bored, I’d go back to a brick and mortar job. To toss out a well-worn cliche, variety is the spice of life, and it’s a freelancers bread and butter.

So, to all my fellow generalists, keep doin’ what you’re doing, and ignore those who tell you that you’ll never make it as a freelancer. If they still want to argue, send them my way. It’s hard to argue with someone whose been doing it since 1996. And to those of you who are niche writers, good luck to you, and I have you have a niche B. And feel free to try and prove me wrong.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have three social media articles to write and then I need to explain how to hide an ugly bay window, remove scratches from a butcher block table, and detail the various sizes of dormers.

Diversity…it’s a good thing!

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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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Independence Day


For those of you who know me from Facebook, you know that June was a roller-coaster month, career-wise. Landed my biggest gig ever — just to see it crash and burn because of a lack of communication. My laptop died, so I had to scramble to buy a new one — something I might not have done had it not been for the tight deadline for the new gig — that crashed and burned. Gave up a lower paying client because they refused to understand that sometimes other work might come first, so I would have more time to work on the new gig —

that crashed and burned.

Did I mention the new gig crashed and burned? LOL

I learned a valuable lesson, a lesson I have been preaching to other writers for *gasp* over a decade: Don’t rely too much on one client. It can come back to bite you.

Consider me bit..er..bitten…

Anyway, lesson learned.

Now, to be fair, I didn’t give up all my clients. I still have several others with whom a have a good working relationship. And also in the matter of fairness, the client I gave up was not only low-paying, but dare I say it — was also a pain in the keister. I’ll work for low wages if I enjoy the work and can do it quickly, but don’t act like you’re doing me a favor by letting me write for you and expect me to drop everything for you because you mismanaged your time.

The mistake I made can be summed up in three words:

Forsaking all others.

You can treat your clients like a partnership, but you can’t treat them like a marriage. As soon as you shift all focus to just one client, the others suffer and it’s the same as not having any other clients. That kind of focus is great for a marriage, but it’s lousy for business. And that was the mistake I made. I put all my other clients on the backburner, and now, instead of having one of my highest earning months ever, June has been one of my lowest.

Yes, lesson learned.

Now, onto the reason for the title of this post. I am declaring independence from my old thinking and old ways. I’m going to try and make money from my writing in other ways. Ways that will allow me to write what I want, in the voice I want to use. Snark included. In the coming days and weeks, I’ll post links to my new material as they become available. If you like my Facebook statuses and the comments I share on the links I provide, you will most likely enjoy my new writing venture. I’ll keep you posted.

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Motivation


A fellow writer wrote about her inspirations and motivations for writing here. At the end of her post, she posed the question:

“What motivates and inspires you and how/where do you find the time?”

I was going to respond to her comment with what motivates me, but decided that I would write about it here instead.

So, here it is, the things that motivate and inspire The Classic Quill to write:

MOTIVATIONS

“Your services will be disconnected if we do not receive your payment by….”

“Add $xx.xx to this amount if not paid by…”

“Mom — I need $xx.xx by xx/xx so I can go to/do ____”

“Mom — I’m HUUUNNGRY!”

“It’s going to cost HOW MUCH to fix the car?!?”

“Ooh…Staples is having a sale!”

As the list indicates, my main motivations are money, especially to have more money than I need to spend.  Some months work out better than others, but being able to make money doing something I love is something in which I take great pride.

Now…onto the inspiration…

INSPIRATIONS

Other writers

Hearing my daughter tell others what I do for a living.

Telling people what I do for a living and seeing their reaction. The reactions range from shock to curiosity to skepticism.

Writing fuels my desire to educate, inform and explain things to people.

Seeing my by-line on an article is always neat. I get especially stoked when I see it on a website or in a publication for the first time.

Having newer writers approach me and ask for advice on how to get started.

There ya go. Consider this “Why I Write — The Redeux.”

Now I am off to do something that will fulfill things on both my lists…but before I go, I’m going to pass the question along to you: What motivates/inspires you to write?

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