Tuesday, May 29, 2012

     Oh, I forgot in the last post to mention this, but the upside to this week is that the air conditioning is fixed on my work truck. I live in Arizona, and heat makes me stupid, so this should keep me from degrading into a simpering monkey over the next couple months.

     The downside to that is I picked up a stray bolt from the work I did to make the air conditioning work, and one of my tires deflated and popped completely off the wheel. The upside to that is that apparently you can buy tires in stores now, and they are much easier to change than A/C components.

     So our apartment got broken into. I'm writing this from our crappy desktop instead of my (equally crappy) laptop. Apparently sliding glass doors are pretty easy to open and it only takes about twenty seconds to sweep through and steal some electronics and most of my wife's jewelry.

     As much as I'd like to whine about the laptop, I can deal with that and it seems that I might have another one pretty soon because of the kindness of some very good friends. The real bitch of it is my wife's stuff; we aren't wealthy to begin with, so I haven't been able to give her a lot. Most of what she has she brought in from before our marriage, and most of that is gone now.

     The cops say that there is a monitoring system for pawn shops that might make our stuff turn up. The problem is that the system itself is run by Phoenix P.D., and my experience with them has been that if there isn't any money in it for the city, they don't do a whole lot. That's probably why I saw a total of seven cops writing traffic tickets on the way to work on saturday, but it took a cop three hours to show up on sunday after the burglary to do what amounts to some quick note-taking and then nothing else.

    On an up note, this has caused me to go to literally 10-20 pawn shops in the last few days. I've learned some interesting things:

1. Most pawn shop employees are missing teeth. This isn't true of the Big Nice Brand pawn shop, but it's true of all the lower level ones.

2. Tools are really, really cheap at pawn shops. At least hand tools are, and those are the only kind that I'm not afraid of. I can go in with ten dollars tomorrow and buy 40 ratchet heads, for instance. That's value, right there, and maybe next time I have to fix my air conditioning I won't have to do it with vice grips.

3. The nicer the area you are in, the nicer the pawn shop stuff. I'm pretty sure this isn't purely because of what they take in; its too well targeted. I am imagining they only keep what might sell in any given area. I think they send out most of the nicer stuff to other shops when shitty pawnshops take it in, and the nicer ones melt the crappy stuff for gold. Xboxes, tools, and guitars are pretty universal.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Line breaks weird functionality

     So apparently Blogger defaults to "HTML" mode for making posts, which means I had to go back this morning and add line breaks and indentation to everything again. On the off chance somebody saw it before I fixed it, I promise I know what paragraphs are.


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Learning to write voiceless

     So my first and biggest goal in learning how to work as a writer is something that will sound terrible to most people who want to be or are trying to be writers. I'm trying to learn to completely suppress my personal "voice", or the tone that any writer naturally has or develops in his or her writing. Eliminating my verbal personality might seem counter-intuitive, since what I'd eventually like to be doing is holding down a regular column somewhere, but there is a pretty decent reason for it.

     At the moment, I think my best shot at ever getting any kind of decent job is building up a monster of a resume, and that means doing as many different kinds of writing for as many people as possible. I need to be able to illustrate to a potential client that I can write what they want, and to some people that means showing them that I have the ability to stop writing what I want.

     Take pure bottom-end content generation, for instance. There are a lot of sites out there that generate content for people who can't do or can't do it well themselves. When you write for those kind of sites, you get paid but you don't get credit. In some cases, the clients want to pretend they wrote it themselves, and in some case authorship just doesn't matter, like a description on a retail site for a purse or a pair of sunglasses. For those kinds of jobs, you have to write clean, because you don't actually matter in the process. The idea is just to get a product, written words, out there.

     As I mentioned before, I'm doing some work for Cracked.com, which lets for some reason despite the fact that they really, really shouldn't. Cracked has a very distinctive voice, but its not my voice. Not only do they not need my personal style since they already have their own, but everything I write that doesn't contour to what they are already doing actually makes more work for the editors.

     There are some professional voiceless styles, at least if I understand them correctly. AP style, which is that dry newsprint format, is completely voiceless. It's sortof impressive once you realize that every news story you've ever read could have been written by any journalist as long as they were following the AP Stylebook point for point. Anyway, wish me luck as I squelch my individuality.


Newest/Oldest Post

     If you aren't my Mom, you probably got here through a link on the end of one of my Cracked.com articles. If you are my Mom, hi Mom. Anyway, if you did get here through Cracked, you almost certainly have an inflated view of what I can do based on how great their editorial staff is, and since this is a writing blog you are hoping to learn something.

     One quick note: I'm probably not thoroughly qualified to teach you how to write. Actually, I'm not qualified to teach you to do anything, including writing, unless you want to know how to catch thrown food in your mouth like a seagull(protip: point at the food with your chin.). What I am qualified to do is make a lot of mistakes in a fairly short amount of time, and since I'm trying to become grand champion of the fast-paced world of internet content writing, I figured my mistakes might be good brain-feed for the masses. If not, it could still be entertaining to watch me flail around.

     My basic goal is this: if possible, I'd like to get to a point where I can make basic survival type levels of cash off of writing, no matter what kind of writing that is. What this blog will focus on is various attempts at doing that, as well as an overarching attempt to become a passable writer in the meantime. My secondary goal is to have something productive to point to when I want to stay up late and watch cartoons, and I thank you in advance for facilitating my lies. Stick around, it may end up being fun.