Content writing is one of the more soul sucking undertakings a writer can, well, undertake. I’ve been at it for awhile now, I owe some content mill 150 words for 30 different establishments. My math isn’t the best, I’m a writer after all, but the calculator on my computer says that is 4500 words. Which is a lot when you are writing things like “The Dungeness crabs at Cafe Bolero are out of this world or any other,” especially when you’ve never been to Cafe Bolero because it’s on the other side of the country and you are not entirely sure what a Dungeness crab is, other than you know it probably tastes better than the frozen pizzas you eat every night.
Freelance writing, content writing’s cigarette smoking older brother, is what I excel at. Unfortunately the places that hire me are of the ‘up and coming’ variety, which means I get a lot of requests for pop culture treatises on Justin Bieber’s ball status (still haven’t dropped) and Taylor Swift’s love life, because these are the things people want to read about. They don’t want to read about the other things I write because they don’t involve someone famous sucking off someone else famous, so I end up writing things like ‘In swag we trust’ ‘Here’s Lindsey Lohan doing her very best impression of a prolapsed anus.’
What I really want is to write a novel full of torment and anguish and broken dreams and blood and gore, but I can’t. Because what I excel at is the literary equivalent of treacle. If Martin Amis is giving readers a five course meal, I am offering them a piece of gum I found at the bottom of my purse. Fruit Stripe gum, the kind that loses its flavor after forty seconds of chewing.
Because in the long term who cares what a slightly unhinged freelance writer has to say about anything? I tell people I am a writer and they are impressed for about a second, until I explain to them what being a writer entails. Meaning I write batshit boring blog posts about restaurants I’ll never go to or products I couldn’t care less about. I was once enlisted to write a piece on hair extensions and in the finished article I referred to Adam Levine’s singing competition show as Sing Song Ding Dong. For the record it’s called The Voice, but I still like my name better. Shit, some people are published authors and they still can’t catch a break. I would be heartbroken to see the book I worked so hard on carelessly tossed into some half priced bin, and that would actually be a step up for me.
“The Dungeness crabs at Cafe Bolero are out of this world or any other.” “Stop in today and see Benny the singing waiter.” “Tables fill up fast at sPaZ, be sure to call ahead.” “My life is draining out of me one second at a time, but please visit Scumbag Park for the best view of junkies dry humping each other in the city.” “In some parts of the world peanut butter is unheard of, yet feeding it to dogs is hilarious.”
What’s hilarious is that people pay me for this. I should have gone into cam-whoring, like mom wanted.