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*Guys. I curse in this article. A lot. Deal.

Right now competition seems pretty fierce. I don’t know about you, but to me it seems fucking brutal. I don’t spend lots of time comparing myself to other people or whatever (I would NEVER do that!) but it seems like there are tons of people out there right now who are just…crushing it.

“It” meaning some new business, book, webseries, podcast, short film or something else really cool.

These people have several things in common:

  1. A novel idea.
  2. Time and commitment to make the idea a reality.
  3. No problem promoting the living shit out of the idea.

Right now competition also seems pretty lame. I don’t know about you, but to me for every brilliant idea with impeccable follow through there seems to be about 50 shitty ideas with either poor execution or fantastic execution, neither of which matters when your idea is crap.

These people also have several things in common:

  1. Some idiotic idea.
  2. Time and commitment to making half-baked idea into reality.
  3. No problem promoting the living shit out of the idea or being weird and not promoting it at all.

I really don’t know which one of these scenarios bothers me more, or if the soupy concoction of both just outweighs them both separately. The internet, social media and technology are creating the ultimate opportunity for awesome and really stupid ideas to have their moment to shine.

The challenge that this creates for you and me as creators is the exact scenario I described above. Everyone and their mommy is probably half annoyed at all the amazing successes and lame ass ideas that they see flooding their feeds every.damn.day.

And if they’re not annoyed about it today, trust me…they will be tomorrow. The oversaturation of ideas and opportunities, successes and failures is raising the bar for me and YOU to put something out there that will not only make people stop and smile, but stop, smile and want to come back for more.

Building a brand is not something I have been very good at, but I’m getting better. Periscope has helped immensely with this but it is crystal clear that artists REALLY need to own this part of the “business.”

Stop and think about your baby. You know what the hell I’m talking about. That project you’ve got kicking around your mind. Could be a webseries, could be a book, could be a business idea. YOU KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT.

Ok. Have you thought about it yet? Well now, I want you to think about what it would be like to actually somehow get the GUTS to put that project out into the world and have no one really give a damn about it (your mom, child, best friend, auntie, godparent, cousin, sponsor or pet do not count).

How would that feel?

Like a punch to the stomach, I would guess. I mean sure, you would (finally) have some self-respect for putting your idea out there, but what about the fact that you know you somehow sabotaged yourself from being seen?

See, I believe that what we need more of is not just that one good idea, but a COMMITMENT to raising your creativity energy level to a higher realm so that your ideas get the recognition they actually deserve. Your standards need to be much….MUCH higher.

You need to put as much creative effort into launching your idea as you would into anything worthwhile in life. Can you commit to that? Am I being too hard on you?

Nope. Because you can always rest after you’re done. You can also take breaks. And drink lots of water or iced tea or watermelon juice or something if you get thirsty.

I’m not asking you to climb a mountain with no shoes on.

I promise you that if you follow this ONE PIECE OF ADVICE to enhance your launch, it take your idea to the places it needs to be.

Cue, P DIDDY’s IG and Twitter account.

I’ve followed and unfollowed Diddy on social media enough in the past few years to know now (finally now) that if I want to follow Diddy on social, I need to be prepared and ready for his constant and NEVERENDING steam of self-promotion mixed in with his absolute commitment to positive sayings.

And on Twitter, I am well aware that he WILL TYPE IN ALL CAPS ALL THE DAMN TIME.

He is fucking committed to promoting his stuff.

About three months ago I wrote a pilot for a TV series that no one cares about called “Mustard Mind.” P Diddy is the “ideal client” of my main, delusional character. She believes that if only P Diddy would buy her bespoke mustard for his next white party, her whole business would jump off.

So now I follow Diddy on social. I sometimes tweet to him about condiments, but the point it this: his product and his unabashed commitment to promote his product are what make him successful.

You can’t (like me) just write a script (or several), send out a bunch of queries and pray that someone gives a crap! Guess what? They don’t.

So, that’s where branding and absolute, unwavering commitment to your ideas come in. We need to be so fucking convinced that our ideas are good (and I pray yours is) that the enthusiasm we feel for them is actually contagious (because it is).

With that said I encourage you to look at your strategy for whatever you’re doing. Not the creation of your “thing” but the execution of the marketing of that thing. Be relentless. Be cool. Be funny.

But don’t ever let your own fear of seeming _______________ get in the way of taking your idea out and into the world.

And if you would, tweet to Diddy about my script. Just for funsies.

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If you’re reading this you either found me because you’re a longterm reader or because you follow me on Social Media somewhere and wound up here in a moment of boredom and/or curiosity. And for that, thanks and hi.

I squirm when bloggers do the whole “I haven’t blogged in a while because of some ordeal.” Or the “I’m SORRY I’ve been MIA…but I’m Back Now” post.

But just to be completely hypocritical I want to both apologize for my absence and also let you know where the hell I’ve been. I’m really more doing for my own amusement than anything else.

1. I’ve been periscoping and tweeting up a storm.

2. I’ve recently created a new Instagram account and have been adding varying types of media there. (after I accidentally DELETED my longterm IG account, never to ever return).

3. I’ve been going through a painful life change. (That’s all I will say about that).

4. I’ve been writing more offline (poetry, stream of consciousness, beginnings of a possible book, web series).

On top of all that, you guys must know I have a wonderful.amazing.adorable son who I absolutely love to pieces; and I spend most of my free time with him. (I write, periscope and make silly short films when he’s fast asleep). I also have a day job.

Please don’t say it.

Don’t think it.

You already did.

Yea, I’m busy. But not in the hectic way. In the “I’m a mom with bills and a job I’m really good at who also has outside interests that I find time to nurture when the sun goes down.” Big deal. There are people in the world who have to walk miles for water or education, fear for their lives or have much worse conditions than I have ever known and will ever know.

I am blessed from here to eternity. Time is stretching out for me as I slow down and don’t try to get everything accomplished yesterday.

Anyway, that’s where I’ve been.

Miss you.

Love you.

Periscope/Twitter: @alisonhummel
Instagram: @alison.hummel

 

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We place celebrities on pedestals to justify the fact that we ask far too little of ourselves when it comes to self expression.

“You have the same hours in a day as Beyonce.” These types of sayings make me feel nauseous.

Here’s a link to a coffee mug with that saying on it.

Perhaps you’ve seen that image on Instagram or Facebook. And maybe you thought yea that’s true. But I can guarantee that you immediately follow that up with some variation of the fact that you are NOT Beyonce and she is some beautiful freak of nature with a team of people making her Beyonce.

But you actually are made of the same stuff that she is. I don’t care what Beyonce is doing or did to get to where she is. I do actually love her music. But, I’m no longer placing anyone on pedestals. Beyonce is a human being. And so am I. And so are you.

We do seem to ask far too much of ourselves when it comes to struggling after the American Dream. A dream that has become distorted by the structure our country is operating within right now.

Our busy-ness has become our business. And we have become entitled by that busyness. That life-is-hard, I’m-always-stuck-in-traffic, running-late-to-work-again, no-clue-what’s-for-dinner busy-ness that we actually feel like we are owed something from someone.

The fact that you couldn’t figure dinner out has you determined to get your shit together. It was just the straw that broke the camels back. So you spend the next week or so scanning Pinterest for easy dinner ideas. How much time did you lose figuring out what you’re eating for dinner next week because you were too busy to go to the grocery store last week?

It seems like the opposite of simplifying to make a complex dinner you found online because you got fed up with your own busy-ness. You believe there will be some sort of poetic justice in this whole dance, but alas, there won’t be. Even when you post a pic and get somewhere between 1-1000 likes on the pic…there is no justice for that behavior.

You, in an effort to take control of your life back, have actually created more work for yourself that you will then share on social media with your friends random-people-who-follow-you so they see your dinner and in some way believe you are not that crazy person with no idea whats for dinner…but rather a very well put together person with a yummy meal on the table.

This will thereby perpetuate the insanity as those people may then decide they want need to make a picturesque dinner, so they then waste HOURS of their lives trying to figure out WHAT they will make (can’t be the same dish as you for god’s sake), then finding ingredients they don’t normally keep in their kitchens, then making the food and finally, taking a picture at a reasonable time so it appears as though they also have their shit together.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

But, what is your souls innermost desire? To make a Pinterest-worthy casserole? If so then by all means go and do that.

But if that’s Sally’s dream (or some distorted ploy to convince herself she has her shit together) and it rubbed off onto you and you are just being a competitive little twat…drop it. Move on.

Seek out that thing which does make your soul feel larger and like it has a purpose. I have become tormented by my inability to create something long term. I blame my busy-ness…but perhaps I create the busy so I can avoid the judgement.

I’ve recently pinpointed the fact that my lack of some kind of creative body of work stems from my perfectionism and my fear of being seen. It’s the ultimate irony for any artist, writer, creative.

This fear of being seen with the simultaneous need for it in order to somehow justify our work.

And I don’t mean justify in the sense that I need some other person to like and accept what I create. I’m talking about having stacks of art, pages written, jewelry made or some other form of art that you are basically hoarding away.

I once listened to a podcast about screenwriting. (This was an inside joke with myself because that’s all I listen to sometimes. So I’ve probably listened to nearly a hundred podcasts on screenwriting while driving around to appointments.)

But I digress. In this one particular show, the writers said that for a screenwriter to feel satisfied in just writing a screenplay is basically bullshit. The final medium for a script is either the stage or film. You don’t read screenplays. So…if you or someone else hasn’t made your story into a medium that people would typically absorb it, then you are just kidding yourself if that’s as far as you’ve gone.

Let that sit with you for a moment. What art have you been creating, that requires someone else in order for it to be fully expressed?

I know I’m scared shitless. Yea…that’s it. And as the years progress, the fears seem to multiply. Like, whereas before I was simply scared that I didn’t have anything worthwhile to say…now I fear that all I do have to say will really sound stupid once it comes out of me.

Then that fear turns into this idea that each year that goes by is yet more proof that my ideas are not good. And I am basically a crazy person to believe that anything I have to say would be worthwhile for anyone to read or experience.

But, I actually think I will just create stuff anyway. So, I’ve put myself on a creation lifestyle change. It’s not a diet, because diets end…so it’s a lifestyle change. For the next 6 months–no matter what–I have to stick to a content creation schedule. I will make the schedule later tonight.

Here’s what I have thus far, partially complete, collecting dust on my hard drive:

  • 5 episodes of a podcast I want to launch
  • the script to a webseries I want to produce
  • 1/4 of a sci-fi novel I’m not sure what the hell I want to do with
  • an iphone full of ideas for other projects: screenplays, blog posts, stand up ideas
  • a youtube channel with some finished vids I haven’t shared with the public yet

I’m not suggesting I will do all of it. But let me finish some of what I already have out there. I have committed to myself that I will spend the next six months in some sort of creative cocoon. I allow myself to make mistakes and to make whatever the opposite of mistake would be.

If you want to follow along on my journey, I encourage you to do that because it’s important to me that people read and absorb my work.

Please, for the love of all things human…create things that light you up. Create things that matter to you. Do it for nothing other than the fact that you can’t not do it. Not for accolades or to be accepted. Because those motivations will ultimately be the barriers to your success.

Signing off now to go and figure out what the hell we’re having for dinner.

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Here’s a little synopsis of what I enjoy doing in my “free time”*

Acting (auditions mostly, some workshops, headshots, bla bla FUN!)

Here I am ACTUALLY acting:

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Here’s my new headshot:

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Writing (a television pilot, my podcast script and an original self-produced series)

Here’s the title of my TV Pilot:

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Here’s a promo for my POD:

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Editing (all of that stuff up there)

This is what I look like when I realize what I’ve written is really bad and have to come up with something much friggin better:

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Playing with my child (hide + seek, puzzles, blocks, trains)

Here we are singing a song or something like that:

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Hanging out with my hubby (doing things we have fun doing)

Sadly, we don’t take a ton of pics…but I am going to change that. This was from my BDay (12/10):

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Reading (spiritual stuff, ET literature, scripts, sci-fi, business, life-hacking)

Forleo:

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Really cool casting director, Allison Jones (my namesake with a variant spelling) 

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Raising my vibration (working out, meditating, listening to channeled information)

Matt Kahn:

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Bashar:

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So yea, these are things which I LOVE doing and that I actively participate in doing because I enjoy the hell out of all of it. Hope you enjoyed this glimpse into my world!

*Can someone tell me where I can go to get some more time…if it’s, after all, free. Also…I once said I was “killing time” to my grandmother and she scolded me sharply for that. Time should be enjoyed and cherished. End loving rant.

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I’m in the strenuous throws of near-debilitating anxiety. Every hour or so, I hear myself telling my husband…”I’m really anxious.” He nods. I find it surprising when the anxiety shows up to derail my otherwise laid back demeanor.

It’s like all the things that I’ve been telling myself will work out are banging on the door of my brain, taunting me that they most certainly won’t work out and that would be very, very bad.

I have a sharp pain near my right temple. I have been wondering if it’s some kind of tumor on and off since the anxiety showed up with no invitation, no warning.

Of course it’s not a tumor, that’s just what happens when you deal with anxiety. The absurd thoughts that you can easily shrug off day to day, seem logical…no, make that likely…to be true.

And that’s not all, folks.

There’s a gut-wrenching pit right above my belly and below my heart. It almost feels hungry. Not sure what for, because food isn’t filling it up, nor is water, tea, coffee, copious amounts of meditation, working out writing, reading, playing with my son. You know the drill.

In a way, I’ve been doing that one thing wrong. Trying to subdue this patch of static that’s coming through on the radio. I should know better. And yes…I already know there will be well-meaning coaches, mentors, sponsors, therapists and guru’s who will say that I’m being hard on myself. Trust me: this is progress.

So here’s one tool I’ve got left in my tool box, collecting dust.

Going INTO the storm. Meeting my anxiety head on with no weapons. In this case, the enemy being the anxiety, the weapons being:

  • relaxation methods
  • deep breathing
  • centering work
  • working out
  • any other form of tryingtogettheanxietytojustgoaway

Just me.

And everything which is making me feel like I could split into two if one more person so much as blinks in my direction.

Only now, it’s not a war. It’s just a meeting. I don’t have to fight it because it’s an illusion. Even if all the bad things were real, what then? Who cares?

I’ve become really good at acting as if. And let me tell you why. Freaking the F&*% out doesn’t do it for me anymore. It just creates destruction. And I don’t feel like cleaning that up. So, I just go about my day. But, today…I think I shall up the ante and go into the anxiety.

Tell myself the worst thing that could happen, probably will happen. Sit with THAT  for a while. Turn the volume up on all the worst what-ifs. This flies in the face of all the new agey stuff I usually enjoy. But it works like a charm.

Why? Probably because even if all of the worst stuff did happen, I would still be me. Whole. Ok. Earth would still spin. Time would tick on. And eventually I might glance at a bird in the sky and feel connected again. Without even trying.

Today, anxiety robs me of peace of mind and a deep knowing that I will be okay.

Anxiety used to rob me of a whole hell of a lot more, like

  • time with the people I love the most (because I would hide out)
  • getting work done (because I would obsess over stupid things all day)
  • being healthy (because I would use food to feel better)
  • leaving the house (because, what’s the point?)
  • talking to people (because everyone would truly piss me off)
  • even getting out of bed in the morning (because it was safer in my bed)

All in the name of feeling anxious. Because I no longer take the bait, I still go through my days filled up to the brim with a piercing dread, but that’s all it is. I refuse to derail my life because of the anxiety.

Once this passes, I will feel very tired. I will sleep like a baby. Food will taste better than I could remember. My family will re-emerge as the most beautiful, funny and loving people I’ve ever met. Work will get done. I will feel like myself again, only this time with a much deeper reverence for who I am. I will feel proud of myself for NOT feeling entitled to act like a spoiled brat just  because I wasn’t feeling well.

All of these feelings will merge into a deeper, fuller knowing about the complexities of life.

And I won’t have to amend anything I did or did not do (because of feeling anxious) for those few days.*

*I wanted to give a disclaimer that I have been sober for ten years, have had incredible mentors and therapists over the years who have given me techniques to work through my anxiety with. If you deal with any form of anxiety, don’t take it lightly. Seek out the help you need. You can get better from this. But, you can’t do it alone.

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In a recent trip to a mom’s group, one mom revealed a deep sense of guilt with nearly every decision she made. Hear her story now.

Through a strange turn of events, this toddler’s mom (see toddler, below) has decided she just cannot figure out what to feel more guilty about in life.
IMG_2418Her list of guilt-provoking activities hit an all time high when she found herself curling her hair in her bathroom while her son was in the other room, playing.

“The guilt was just piling up in that very moment.”

When asked why curling her hair could provoke such a deep sense of guilt, she responded with this:

“Well, earlier that day, I had been meeting with clients. They asked who was watching my son. I told them that my husband was, but that because I now run my own business I do get to see him much more than when I worked at a large company. The woman was in her 70’s and after a very long sigh…she told me that I should enjoy every moment I have because they all go by just too fast.”

When asked what the hell that had to do with curling her hair, she replied:

“Well, since I realized I really wanted to spend as much time as possible with him… but since I also wanted to feel good about myself and just give my hair a little curl, I realized that I had chosen curling my hair, over my son…and I just broke down.”

Though not entirely logical, moms round the world agreed with this woman’s thought process. One mom mentioned that she had actually been at the same exact crossroads the day before. Except, she chose to forego curling her hair to play with her toddler-aged daughter.

When she caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror later that day, the waves of guilt completely “knocked her down” (her words) because she felt she had chosen to play with her daughter OVER curling her hair.

When asked how that could possibly be a bad thing, she brought up the whole “oxygen mask talk” everyone tells moms about as a way to coerce them into taking better care of themselves.

“In a plane crash, you’re supposed to put the oxygen mask on yourself before anyone else.”

Though curling ones hair and putting an oxygen mask on when a plane is crash-landing are very different tasks, several moms agreed that they often feel “damned if they do, damned if they don’t.”

“It’s like there’s this running commentary on every decision I make. There are tons of people on either side of every argument. I can’t keep up with who agrees with what and what’s okay and not okay by every different person.”

What every mom agreed on was that she was trying to do her best, though they never actually felt like they were doing all that well anyway.

When asked what they judged their skill-level by, if there was some universal grading system which would give them insight into how they were faring…all of them came to one bizarre but unified response:

“Pinterest.”

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Hundreds of thousands of yogi’s and new agey hippy-types are set up for a real gear shift in coming months, as the latest form of meditation (also the most ancient) is set to hit the West in a big way for 2015.

Elizabeth Lovedovey, one of the most prominent yoga instructors and new thought leaders in the entire world, has just learned about this new-but-ancient-meditation technique, which will put regular old meditation on the back burner, possibly forever.

Her followers are clamoring for  more information, searching the internet for early access to this new-but-ancient meditation technique, but no one can find anything about it anywhere, because she discovered it while on a hike through some really spiritual place very far away from here.

Before this discovery, no one knew anything about it whatsoever, aside from a small group of devout practitioners with really remarkable life stories in this really spiritual and very far away place.

“I was hiking with my dog, Utopia, through this really spiritual place very far away from here, when I saw him run up ahead of me and begin digging in the ground. I thought he had found a dead animal or something…until he pulled out a leather bound book with images of a new-but-ancient meditation technique that I was able to trace back to a small group of devout practitioners in the next village over.”

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Loveydovey sent us this picture of her dog, Utopia.

Loveydovey has decided to lay out this new-but-ancient technique in a 32 step program that she will sell for $179.99 on her website starting in January.

“It’s life-changing information.”

When asked if she felt guilty charging for information she didn’t create or even find (Utopia gets all the credit for unearthing the book), Lovedovey had this to say:

“Guilt is a useless emotion. Plus I will be giving away a free 4 part video series which explains a lot of the technique.”

You can download the first 1.5 steps of the 32 step program at Loveydovey’s website beginning on January 1st, 2015. Loveydovey and Utopia have set up a 25 city tour to launch the new program starting in February 2015.

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What is just not worthy of your consumption that you are currently consuming?

There have to be at LEAST 10 things. Here’s a list of samples to pull from:

  1. Crappy Articles
  2. Bad Movies
  3. Sloppy TV Shows
  4. Food Made With Bizarre Ingredients
  5. Bullshit From People Who Don’t Matter
  6. Your Own Bullshit
  7. Road Rage
  8. Too Much Social Media Anything
  9. Bad Pop Music
  10. Plastic Anything

This is just my own take on a topic that surrounds us, permeates all of our lives and threatens to rip meaning from our short life spans. First of all, why do we do this? Why do we consume any of the stuff listed above? Here is a short list of possible reasons.

  1. Convenience
  2. Feeling Empty
  3. To Placate Others
  4. Social Programming
  5. Feeling Weak
  6. Guilt
  7. Lower Cost
  8. Lack Of Access To Other Resources
  9. Information Overload
  10. Ignorance

To look at the polar opposite of this, let’s consider what life would look like if we started to consume high quality stuff…here’s a list of things that we CAN consume which are of high quality. I added an extra one because it’s important.

  1. Thought-Provoking Articles
  2. Exciting/Incredible/Awesome Movies
  3. TV Shows With Compelling Characters and Stories
  4. Whole/Delicious/Nourishing Food
  5. Love From People Who Care
  6. Positive Self-Talk/Self-Love
  7. Considerate Driving
  8. Actual Connection
  9. Music That Touches The Soul
  10. Handcrafted Anything
  11. Lack Of Consumption (Meditation)

Here are some reasons WHY we might choose to consume stuff that is just all around higher quality:

  1. Getting Sober
  2. The Crap Breaks
  3. White Light Moment
  4. We’ve Gotten Fed Up
  5. Falling Ill and Realizing The Need For Quality
  6. Loss of A Loved One
  7. Seeing Other People Choose Higher Quality
  8. Knowing We Have More Options
  9. Easier Access To Quality
  10. Just Because

I was going to make two more lists of the ripple effects of choosing crap over quality, but maybe you want to play along. How has crap impacted your own life? Alternatively, how as choosing higher quality impacted your life? If you can come up with other things (I’m certain the list is endless)…please do!

I want to add that this is simply a list around consumption. I believe there is a need for less overall consumption…but I don’t think minimalism is necessarily the answer for me. I think it’s awesome for some people…but I love the idea of buying handcrafted. I enjoy awesome movies and tv shows…so I’m not giving up my TV.

For me, I want to know how we can be more conscious of what we allow into our lives. That’s all. As I blog more, I get more feedback from people pinpointing the minutiae of a subject I bring up. Which…is well, sort of annoying.

No one lets you just BE anymore. You have to consider ALL sides. EVERY idea that has ever come along. Bla bla bla. But, that’s fine. This type of feedback made me shut down my blog several years ago. But I’m just not gonna take the bait this time.

As I wrote this Stephanie Watanabe kept popping into my brain because she runs this awesome site in which she talks about high quality everything. Check her out at The Girl Who Knows. 

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Leading scientists claim that all those people who have been meditating to improve cognition, reduce stress and just “Keep Up With the Joneses 2.0” are losing any gains by clicking links with bad titles.

Those blog posts with titles that seem to tap into your lower level thinking are causing significant damage to brain cells. The reason this is so troubling is because these “clicky titles” seem to be popping up all over the place, not just on junk blogs.

Popular professional networking sites as well as high quality personal development blogs are now using these titles to get people to click…and read otherwise boring content.

The reason THIS is so troubling is because scientists have determined that many people who frequent these sites are also the ones who are using meditation to improve their lives in general. With meditation increasing gray matter, high functioning people everywhere are practicing more and more to get “more of the gray stuff” as experts put it.

Unfortunately any of those gains might be completely and utterly derailed by crap content and the very thing which makes you read that crap content–clicky and idiotic title.

Leading researcher Edward Scissorfoot (no relation to Edward Scissorhands) was on hand to give his feedback.

“It’s really bad.”

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At the time of the interview, he was standing at this dock, contemplating the situation. He didn’t want us to show his face…not even the back of his head.

He had nothing else to add, possibly because all of his research caused him to analyze thousands of titles that were structured in the exact same way.

Eloise Bumbleduck was on hand to give her reasoning behind how she came up with this “clicky style” in the first place. (She refused pictures).

“Listen…I started this way back in the early 2000’s when I was running ads for that ‘weird known fruit that can eliminate belly bloat’ and people just clicked so much that I began testing it out on different, less ‘diet-y’ posts. Lo and behold…everyone and their mother began copying my idea within the past couple of years.”

She has no rights towards this obnoxious style of writing, just the ability to prove she wrote the first “clicky title” with back dated emails and the ad itself.

The bottom line is this: click the link, if you don’t mind losing brain cells. But, it you are at all concerned about maintaining what little cognition you have left, stop clicking the links.

*In case you must know…this is satire.

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When you’re an up and coming writer (I deemed myself an up and comer…Scruffy agrees, though) you deal with a LOT of questions from people who are interested in your work. It’s almost too much to keep up with…which is why I started this series.

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