On Self-Doubt

I had a meltdown about writing—the process of—this morning. Simultaneously, my son, a recent BS degree graduate, did too—about job hunting.

His email to me while I’m melting down:

I’m applying for jobs and contacting these people but when absolutely no one contacts me back I feel like I’m just sinking. I’m just looking through meetups thinking that no one will ever want to continue a relationship. I just feel like a fucking failure.”

I emailed him back:

The only thing i know that works for me to shed these feelings is WRITING them to dad, or myself. i am doing that now. literally. i had meltdown this morning so i’m journaling. i will for a page or so, then get on with watching youtubers gaming to educate myself before i continue writing the power trip—which is what i melted down on this morning. from my journal:”

The absolute hardest part about writing fiction is shutting out the voices in my head that tell me I am not good enough to write this:

I’ll never get this right.

It’s too complex.

It’ll take too much research.

I’m too fragmented.

I’m not focused enough.

The subject won’t be topical if it takes too long to write.

I can’t DO this.

I keep losing the string.

I can’t hear the characters even after profiling them.

I get too wrapped up in superfluous details.

I don’t get to the point quick enough.

I don’t make it exciting, engaging out of the gate.

I’m too heady.

Too technical.

Too too too…

Give it up.

Too much work you’ll never finish anyway.

This is stupid to pursue.

You are wasting your time, not living your best life.

You’ve been working at this too long and are still nowhere…

His email back:

This is exactly what I freak out about as well. Just replace writing with coding.”

Me:

thing is, you have to combat the bullshit voices in your head.”

they are half-truths. not lies, cuz there IS truth in our fears, but only HALF truths. i can counter every one of the voices i just wrote in my journal…

Him:

But there’s always these looming feelings that I’ve accomplished nothing, done nothing. Am nothing.”

Me:

it’s not true. that’s fear—like you are a failure—because you’re scared you will be. And while the fear is valid, real, true, because there is a vague possibility you won’t find a job you want, the WHOLE TRUTH is you are virtually 100% guaranteed to find a job if you keep looking for one, and likely a coding job you’ll like.

Another truth is you’ve proven you can code as a straight As graduate with a CS degree, which was your primary goal the last 4 years. and you did it. Well!”

Him:

I seem to be unable to compartmentalize my feelings.


Me:

this is LEARNING, em, applying for your first real job that isn’t a part-time gig. you WILL get this. guaranteed, IF you keep working at it!! just like i’ll get the power trip written. see, i’ve already proven i can write with 7 books out, with mostly good reviews. and still i hear the voices of doubt as i write the lines to you above:

yeah, you’ve written 7, but they were all crap. 

and the good reviews, well, they were just being nice. 

the bad reviews are the truth about your writing. 

so GIVE IT UP, BITCH. you will always fail at this. 

and so on…

but again, em, i can COUNTER ALL OF THEM.

yeah, you’ve written 7, but they were all crap. BULLSHIT. MANY PEOPLE GAVE MY BOOKS REALLY GOOD REVIEWS.

and the good reviews, well, they were just being nice. BULLSHIT. JUST BULLSHIT CUZ THIS IS SUCH A STUPID THOUGHT.

bad reviews are the truth about your writing. NOPE. THEY ARE HALF THE TRUTH. OR A PERCENTAGE, BUT GOOD REVIEWS ARE THE OTHER PERCENTAGE AND IN MOST CASES THE GREATER PERCENTAGE ARE POSITIVE.

so give it up, bitch. you will always fail at this. FUCK OFF BITCH OF DOUBT.

His response:

Emoji smile. Clapping hands. Thank you hands.

Copywriting “Test”

Had an interview for a Copywriting contract that required a ‘test.’

Here’s the ‘test:’

Create five (5) YouTube Channels that can “go viral,” which, according to this ‘digital marketing agency’ was “20 million views in one week,” with these prompts:

  • Create a “Seek and Find” YouTube channel.
  • Create a “Mouse Maze” YouTube channel.
  • Create a [tween] YouTube channel: “Imagine you are 13 and develop a superpower…”.

I stopped reading the “Test Deliverables” after that because this agency asked for a total of 5 unique YouTube channel ideas, their only instruction to create channels to “go viral, with 20M views weekly.” I hope the absurdity of this request is not lost on you, since about .03% of all YouTube Channels get 1M+ views on any given video.

And remember, this is a Copywriting ‘test,’ not a product development gig, which, seemingly, this marketing agency does not know a BRANDED YouTube channel actually is a product offering, and should be developed and marketed accordingly.

Five, free, viable YouTube channel ideas requiring little copy—this agency did stress an ‘attention-grabbing’ visual—including thumbnail layouts and storyboard drawings. Oh, and they required I sign an NDA saying that whatever I came up with on their ‘test’ was theirs to keep. Five (5). Free Channel ideas. Per applicant.

Their ‘test’ gave no OBJECTIVE for creating these channels—no sales goals for any company, or the channel itself to realize profitability. No reason for asking applicants to create these brain dead types of channels, other than the unmentionable of making the user the PRODUCT by selling their data, then slamming those same users with pay-per-click ads on every webpage visited forward.

The prompts in their ‘test’ were pulled from the latest trending crap on YouTube. The agency asked applicants to pile on more intellectually void baseline garbage to these senseless trending channels, following the Fire, Aim, Ready marketing method of business failure. Clearly this ‘marketing’ agency doesn’t really understand, well, marketing, assuming they were really looking for a copywriter, and not just garnering free content ideas. There are three business MARKETING reasons (not personal, ego-building social sharing) for a YouTube Channel:

  1. As a marketing/branding channel for a business.
  2. As a data collection tool for tightly targeting future marketing campaigns.
  3. Selling collected data to Affliate Marketing brokers.

Applicants for this copywriting gig were not asked to market an offering of value, nor to build a marketing campaign (or YouTube channel) for any specific targets, nor did they instruct applicants to actually create and MARKET (i.e. BRAND) a YouTube channel for any specific business. They are under the delusion if they just get “views,” they’ll get sales, which data shows is a lie (https://freakonomics.com/podcast/advertising-part-2/), promoted by these very ‘digital marketing’ agencies to get clients. (https://www.ippglobal.org/post/truth-about-data-science)

Of course, after reading their ‘test,’ I turned down the prospect of consulting for them. I felt angry though, that they were not only asking for free, unique IP, but also the IP they were asking for was truly thoughtless, flat out bad marketing, sure to put more ‘digital’ garbage on the ever mounting pile of crap already on YouTube. To quell my anger, with my rejection of consulting for their agency, I included an answer to their first prompt:

Create a Hide & Seek” YouTube Channel:

A Year of Free Beer for Finding NAME OF FAMOUS IPA BEER.

AR (augmented reality) game to find the bottle of famous IPA BEER (or any other idiotic thing that’s trending). Everyone 21 or older with mobile can play. AR has NAME OF FAMOUS IPA BEER bottles in places around each major cities, but also standard beer bottles, and area sports team logos, (even cross-sell with image placements) that ‘lead’ you to the ‘right IPA.’ First to find NAME OF FAMOUS IPA BEER (in any given round, which may be a week or more per round) to collect all that global data, (which then can be sold to screw us all further), wins the free beer for a year, every month getting new IPA flavors.

The TARGET USERS of this YouTube Channel will be:

  1. Lowest hanging target is the sudo-intellectual, over-educated ivy-league crowd, mostly White men; Christians, Jews, Agnostics—higher education levels; MMORPG, FPS, and MOD gamer; Software, Marketing, Admin, Finance; STEAM; democrats; mid – upper income; 21 – 60.
  2. Lazy, generally fat, FPS gamers, beer and sports-loving men. White mostly. Conservatives. Apatheist, Christians; low – mid income; blue-collar job; pensions; 18 – 65.