Eventually most self-ware people come to the
realization that they're mediocre (and I don't mean counter-intuitive
mediocrity). That's fine. I'd take mediocre. But I'm starting think I'm subpar.
Like genuinely too stupid to execute. I can never find the interesting angle or
the kernel with universal appeal. Focus is lacking, for sure, and I'm lazy, but
I'm wondering if there's also an intelligence gap that can't be…argh, I
started to type breached, which is the dead opposite of what I meant (patched?
spanned? bridged?) and only proves my point. What do you do when you're too
dumb to accomplish what you want to–or worse, too dumb to pinpoint what you
want to accomplish.
I used to see things and think oh, I could that. But I can't or I would've.
I do not mean lifestyle publication crap where anyone could write it if they
had the right connections. I'm burnt out on food right now anyway (not eating
it, clearly–I will always envy the I'm too tired/stressed/angry/upset/down to
eat people. And I'll continue hating the "I'm so busy I forget to
eat" types even more). It's boring, it's competitive, repetitive. I'm
talking more about stories with business or marketing angles (they could
ostensibly be about food). I would not
go so far as to say think pieces because that's ridiculous. I don't mean Malcom
Gladwell (this morning I tried analyzing this 2004 New Yorker piece about the
creator of the American mall and I never would've made a connection between
Vienna's Ringstrasse–even thought I was physically there last year–and the influence
on the Viennese architect profiled) or the power of introverts Quiet lady (I'm a
total loud mouth and am definitely introverted) or the Pulitzer Prize-winning
guy who had the 14-page excerpt from his book about insidious junk food marketing in this weekend's NYT Sunday magazine.
Those are leaps for another lifetime (or maybe just another decade–I don't
have that skill set or level of confidence naturally).
But the 1,000-word article or the well-crafted three-paragraph
blog post? That I could handle. For example, this post on NPR's food blog combines
big data, the sort of thing I cover for work (for my next report I'll be analyzing
real-time pricing, a similarly popular subject at the moment) and The
Cheesecake Factory (chains, duh) in a
short speculative bit about how a company called N2N Global could potentially
use customer feedback to track things like poor pickle performance in different
parts of the world. It would seem that the author got his idea from this press
release dated yesterday.
Here's where the disconnect lies (or is it lays?). I
read stuff like this all day long and I would not see a story in this. But all
you need to do is decide a restaurant using big data to maintain quality is
newsworthy, get in touch with the person touted in the release, get some
quotes, give some examples, boom, the post is live the next day.
Oh, because of my Google alert for "Cheesecake
Factory" (among others) this very second I got an email linking to Business
Insider's take on the same thing–using one of my photos (a non-SLR one) no
I'm not saying I want to be a press
release-recycler, i.e. what a lot of blogging is, and I'm pretty sure Business
Insider doesn't even pay. These examples just further display my lack of good judgment or good ideas.
I've thought about pitching Brandchannel (just checked–they also have the Cheesecake Factory/big data story) or Fast
Company, but like I said I'm horrible at coming up with ideas. Or at least
ideas that others care about. I spend time here instead, and little stories I
tell myself is not a marketable genre. The latter was just advertising for
freelance writers for its Co.Create section, and they certainly pay, but holy shit, there's no way I
could come up with three-to-four pieces a day, which I realize is pretty
typical for a pro blog. I just don't have the brain for it. I currently work on
a six-week schedule and I've grown accustomed to it. I see jobs that are more newsy, less analytical/long-form and I shy away.
Maybe I will write a book called Slow that will be
about the benefits of taking a shitload of time to make decisions and produce
something. I knew it! The Slow Fix already exists was published less than a
month ago. Ack, and In Praise of Slowness has already been in existence for a while.
Dammit. Even being stupid is taken.