Words for Sale
Every blogger’s dream is to one day get that email.
“Networking opportunity brand campaign paid compensation?” they chirp, “Outstanding opportunity exposure! Payment for Talent opportunity!”
Buzzwords buzz but you zero in on that word: PAID. It’s as though you’ve been blogging for years on a deserted island hoping that someone would rescue you, and you have finally flagged down that gold-plated cruise ship! Here it comes, blasting its horn all the way up onto your lonely, crappy blog I MEAN BEACH, hard cash money blowing like confetti off the bow in the wind! Listen to that horn: PAAAAAAAAAAID!
“It’s an opportunity,” you say, rolling that big, responsible word around in your mouth like a full adult. The kind of thing you could casually mention at the holiday dinner table when someone meaning well enough asks what have you been up to these days? Instead of sheepishly mumbling that you wax poetic about your pimples to a vaguely disinterested audience on the internet, you can tilt your chin up and vaguely cough “I’ve had some opportunities come my way.”
Think about it: the Opportunity! To write! about A New Product! (for a fee “up to $20.”)
This is the reason you started blogging in the first place, six long years ago, this exact dream raced through your mind as you pressed the orange “Create Blog” button. How many times did you top up your can of Diet Cherry Dr. Pepper with Malibu Coconut Rum before you screwed up the nerve? Or was it a lifetime of ‘waiting your turn’ to be heard that finally squashed the voices in your head that screamed “imposter syndrome” defiantly saying “NO! This is my blogspot.html, I will not have that negativity here!” Your first reader. Your first comment: “lol so true” validated all your faith in yourself as a person and as a writer. It’s finally come to this.
You have been selected to deftly, in your inimitable style, weave several of the following specific predetermined marketing catchphrases into your post to promote A New Product for cash money compensation. Big-wigs with big-jobs have espied your talents and have deemed you worthy to promote their product! Imagine them in well-tailored skirt-suits, huddled around an open laptop, reading your blog for hours at the conference table! “Hold my calls, Jean! I just have to know her ‘Top-Five Guilty Pleasure 80’s Dance Songs’! Keep clicking, Martin! Go to archives! Go, man, go!”
And what a long, strange journey those archives show! Can you believe it’s been six years since you struck out on your own in a big city, knowing a handful of people and working that awful job? Five years since your childhood friend’s sudden death sent you spiralling into a depression and existential crisis that you mused about for years to come? Three years since the heartbreak you thought would end your life, and the rebirth of your spirit into new independence?
Six years…but how far back does it really go, ya think? Back to Comp 101, you say, the diary assignment that handed you the hammer you used to smash the dam holding back Your Truth! Honesty poured out without hesitation and it was overwhelming! “What a vocabulary!” is the nice thing adults say when confronted by your stacks of notebooks full of precious words strung in pains-taken order: rhythm, tone, rhyme, cadence, slang, beat, assonance, alliteration, emphasis! Infinite possibilities of words!
Words became the air that filled your reality. Words flash and startle like lightning and vanish faster than you can scribble them down in a panic! Words turn over and over in your mind bashing the sides until they polish like pebbles to semi-precious stones. Jokes like bouquets! Metaphors like javelins! Did you ever have eyes that saw the world? No, it came to you in words. This whole crazy spinning orb just doesn’t make sense to you, does it, until you parse it out in words: “sacrifice” “undulate” “slather” “abhor” “crave” “puncture” “ecstasy” “shame” “despair.” The universe flows into you and it flows out in words!
Your entire life has been in preparation for this. The chance to pour your passion into writing about something that really matters – A New Product!
PAID PAID PAID! How do you know a painting is good until someone pays a lot of money for it?! Art isn’t art until it sells, and a blog isn’t a blog until it’s monetized. How do people know you’re worth reading unless Major National Brands trust you to talk about their products? Without sponsorship, you’re just another anonymous “blogger” making exasperated fish faces at the camera, fumbling your way through Photoshop and dreaming of this day!
Come on, man! What’s to think about? Were you just going to keep blogging as a hobby forever? Look, caring about art is “cute” and stuff until you’re 27, and what happens after that? Jimi DIED, Janis DIED, Kurt DIED, Amy DIED, and everyone else got a fucking job. You love blogging, right? Then you should be excited about doing it for cash! It’s what you always wanted! It’s a win-win! It’s like the successful entrepreneurs smugly push in TED talks: find something you love to do, and then sell out as quickly as possible.
It’s basically the American dream! Your ship has come in, and you’re just going to let it sail away? Man. You really are a fucking failure. You’re gonna die alone on that island, you know. And to think you coulda done something that mattered.
All opinions expressed in this piece are strictly my own and do not pertain to any other blogger and are not throwing shade in any way at any other bloggers and I wasn’t even paid to write this so it’s literally “worthless” in the truest sense of the word so please disregard completely.