Content Writing interview at an SAAS this week and my plans for improvement

Picture of a road from street level in a artic location with mountains in the distance

This Monday I interviewed for a content-writer position at an up-and-coming SAAS company. 

I spent four days researching the company website and Googling the hell out of the team members. I soon discovered my interviewer was responsible for a local viral post [insert onslaught of terrified excitement].

amusement park ride people upside down about to be dropped straight down
https://unsplash.com/@punttim

During the four days leading up to the interview, I researched the site, created a corpus of their highest ranking keywords, and started writing non-stop with only breaks for food, mate or for those brief moments—sleeping.

My wife got jealous a couple of times, so I had to make time to give her a hug, now-and-then again.

two people sitting across from each other on a bench; one is writing the other has a tablet in front of them but hands appear to be unsure of what to do
https://unsplash.com/@alvaroserrano

Over the last couple days of writing, I contacted a few writer colleagues from my publishing job and a writer friend that I knew from undergrad. My friend didn’t comment much on problem areas, but the time he took to listen to me talk out my writing process was a great calmer and confidence booster. 

And after all the work, the writing sample felt good.

The interview went well: when I needed time to think about a hypothetical situation, I took my time and responded. In some cases he interjected with agreements or supplemented ideas that they had put into practice.

Everything was good, everything EXCEPT my lack of applicable experience with SEO.

Picture of a cellphone with Google open and 'Analytics' typed into the SERP
https://unsplash.com/@edhoradic

I emphasized my enthusiasm to learn and write for a new genre, which seemed to leave a somewhat positive impression. But, as an experienced recruiter, you want someone to fill the role that can take ownership of their role ASAP. 

Otherwise, a new candidate ends up becoming a liability.

I don’t want to be that ‘guy,’ so regardless of whether I get the position or not,  I am back at the drawing table–planning out my study and writing plans. So far, it’s a checkerboard of genre-writing research and full-on writing days.

The goal is to write one piece each week with the goal of having showcase samples ready for my website in five weeks’ time.

 

Inspiration that keeps on inspiring Rev

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23, insecure and eager, sitting in a mid-to-back desk, among my fellow nobody collective in the walled-in confines–I awaited the impending demands of my new Non-Fiction/Journalism professor. From the moment he opened his mouth, I found myself in awe of his deep-thunderous baritone voice, not unlike South Park’s Chef. “Raise your hand if you are a writer, words crisp, hanging in the air like thick willowy branches rooting into every corner of the classroom–eliminating any chance of escape.  None of us–regardless of specialization: creative writing, journalism, or analytical writing–dare to raise a finger or even dare to fucking look him in the eyes. Hell, I was trying to drill a hole through my desk with my laser, don’t look at me, eyes.

With his loud booming, ‘Ye shall I walk through the valley of death,’ voice, my psyche loathe a verbal castration for my gross incompetence.

Our class was silent enough to hear a fly shit, but that wasn’t going to happen because no one–absolutely NO ONE–wanted to drag attention to himself. “Are you a writer,” the silence was butter as he cut it right in half, doubling the intense deafening roar. Unaware of my own actions, I found my eyes looking at his (much to my own chagrin). His eyes were all Eye of Sauron roving the room–That staring! That Perpetual Staring!

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Words rolled through the classroom again as he said the most inconceivable notion, “You are all writers!”

If he wanted to see if we would shit ourselves in the middle of the class, he was on the right path. He was damned well going to get a payload for his hard work. Was this a sick haze to ease us into complacency and then the next moment was he planning to rip into us like sweet caviar? Confusion, happiness, fear, questions about how many steps to the door: all these thoughts rushing through my mind…

“You all write things, and you all care about the content, or else you wouldn’t be here. You are all writers and until you accept that and claim that ownership of your identity, you will never be the best writer that you can be.”

Trembling subsiding slowly, I felt unimaginable happiness as the endorphins kicked in. We went from a horror film to silent film back to horror film to the Rocky Horror Picture party scene as Meatloaf walks in.

This memory plays so vividly to me, today, as I try once again to become a ‘writer.’

A Venture into the Project Planning phase


When you are in the process of job hunting every day is a different animal. There are some that seem to make sense and everything is on track (and then there are the others). Based on advice from a theMuse article: 6 Free Online Courses That’ll Teach You the Same Skills You’d Learn in Business School I decided to start a couple of the suggested online courses: Intro to Project Management and Intro to Marketing.

Project Management seems like a no-brainer to me at the moment. I’m constantly trying to arrange my schedule in order not to feel completely overwhelmed by the sheer number of tasks that I set out for myself. Just to give you an idea of what I mean by that–I literally alphabetically categorized my goals for the day up to H (and I hadn’t even gotten past my writing goals).

Based on what I’ve gained in my vast hour of experience in the Project Management class, I’m currently in the initialization phase. They let you use this nifty guide called the Canvas framework:

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I’m hoping to manage my writing, job search, social media, language learning and (that is if I can find enough time) my website. I justified buying a site to my wife before we got married, butat this moment only has a construction image (worthy of a circa 1995 Geocities account).

A man who learns never grows old

Recently been caught up in a research loop—

Guess that makes sense as loops are a common variable in coding languages. It’s not just coding though. I’m diligently factoring in everything I can in the free time that I have to try to improve my knowledge.

Basically all my free time at the office, I’m researching social media in ways to improve my company’s social presence. Then after work, I’m taking what I have gathered to improve my knowledge of how it extends beyond the scope of my business and into the social media realms of Twitter, Blogging and into the sphere of writing: listicles, infographics, white papers, just to name a few.

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I’m doing what I can, but it always seems like there’s never enough time in the day. Recently I added studying math on Khan Academy to improve my ability to make better sense of SEO analytics. Math was the largest impediment to my studying CS back in the college days. It was that and the smell of the server room. I honestly remember the warmth and the smell of a vacuum sealed room of crusty pizza and locker room body odor. It stopped my dream at that time, but I never stopped loving computers. I just was unable to take that step to becoming a computer scientist.

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Now, I’m trying to find a way to take that love I had before and branch it into my life now. I think that’s the question you may have, READER, what exactly is it that I do in my life. The answer to that is not an easy question to answer as it’s a myriad of answers. I do work at a company and I do have office hours, but those are mostly determined by me and I’m given a large amount of space to create my own projects to help improve the presence of my company. I handle engagement, hiring, coaching, training, workshops, presentations, contest hosting, podcasting, voice recording, podcasting, and a wide assortment of writing and editing projects. I’d never complain about what I do. It gives me the time I need to learn and a chance to draw upon my enthusiasm to find new innovative ways of interacting with our clients. I am excited to find out more and more about avenues to be able to share some of my methods and to learn more about how social media involvement will help me to develop as a creative content manager.

Thanks to all the people that have been helping. I’m especially indebted to the help on Twitter by Sam Hurley and the articles off of jeffbullas

http://dailybunny.org/2014/01/27/bunny-knows-how-to-turn-her-humans-attention-back-to-where-it-should-be/

Off the path of social coding into the venue of writing and the interpersonalization of our writer’s Id

Just now, well a moment ago, I was enjoying a well-thought out post on K E Garland‘s page and one of her discussions with tunisiajolyn84 really struck me. Forgive me if reposting it here is not cool. If so just let me know and I’ll take it down. 

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I want to say thank you for the salient points and I’d humbly like to add a quote, albeit a long one, from one of my favorite writing coaches, John Flowerdew:

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My words can’t do his written work justice. I just want to say that it resonates with me–this idea that inside each and every one of us exists the Writer’s self, which I like to call the Writer’s Id. It is often neglected and downtrodden, so much so that people dread their written word being read more than they do fear being hit by a car. The profundity of something so off-kilter in a species of animal that prides itself, first and foremost, on its ability to communicate.

It’s like 50 shades of Writer’s Block without the sexuality. It’s domineering with a threat of violence at any predilection that Writer’s Id appears to be improper or unlikely to win the recognition of the READER. But how… without giving it patience; without giving it Love.

To Love mustn’t we give in to loving ourselves before truly and fully feeling that for others? Can it not be said for our Writer’s Id as well? How can Writer’s Id ever truly love and be loved by the muses without first giving in to that lovers embrace of the self and allowing all the messy bits to come out like tears that burst out at the seams at the first good cathartic sobbing. Isn’t it worth it?