Thursday, August 24, 2006

Nothing About Nothing

In the search for extra modes of income, I came across ads on writing websites looking for people to write copy for commercial websites. The pay is pretty awful ($7 per 400-word article, and some others pay as little as $2 for the same) but there is a large workload per week so I decided if I could master the format I could start knocking them out in less than half an hour, and make decent supplementary cash. Perhaps it would be good writing practice, writing huge amount of copy to set criteria; I even had some conception of myself becoming a macho Stakhanovite hack, unflappable in the face of fearsome labour, like Gary Cooper's architect working in a quarry in the film version of The Fountainhead.

When I attempted the first of the trial assignments that were sent me though, I soon wilted. I was asked to write 400 words on, mentioning key words five times throughout the passage. There were various other strictures, all of which are designed to provide a final text that is bland and barely informative in a sale-pitch way. A big disadvantage for me was the fact that I know nothing about 'body kits' and even if I decided to ad-lib the copy would be shot down for inaccuracy. After brooding over 80 words, completely lost, for over an hour, I gave up. Writing something about nothing has never held any fear for me; in fact, it's probably what I'm best at, that old school-detention assignment,"write ten pages on the inside of a golf ball" is grist to my mill. Writing nothing about nothing however is beyond me. I imagine there are people that do hundreds of these sorts of things, at an equally incredible rate, every week and earn a decent living off them. I dop my hat to them, in some way they are better men (and women) than me. I started the week envying (and admiring) the great Grigory Perelman, for his genius and his nonchalance in declining the Field's Medal (as featured in the film Good Will Hunting). I am now in awe of people much more ordinary than him.