2018: The First Super Bowl Post after the Game

How was your weekend? Mine was a bit out of the ordinary–went shopping in the morning…the cold, cold morning. Lots of wind. And then it snowed a teeny amount in the afternoon. Of course, the thing I hoped I’d be able to talk about this week is what I want to talk about now…

The Super Bowl. This will probably be a tad longer than some other posts, because I want to combine some game details (and major spoilers) with one of the first commercials that caught my eye in between all the action).

Let’s get to it.

Usually I focus on the commercials from a fiction and copy standpoint. If reports were correct, the ad folks reduced the price a little (or maybe a lot), but I enjoyed the game.¬†Mostly because I like football. The fact that there was over 1,000 total yardage didn’t matter to me (even though it was the most in any postseason game ever, including any Super Bowl).

Or that the commentators threw around the acronym RPO a lot (and explained that it means “run pass option,” which means the QB has a choice whether to do passing or running plays).

I just wanted to see the Eagles win it because they hadn’t won at all (well, in 1960 they did, but I don’t think championships became Super Bowls officially until after that), and the Patriots have won this thing something like 6 times.

After several extra point kicks and two point conversions were blown along the way, I didn’t really know what to think of the game. But things started picking up.

There was an interception, but only after the dude caught the ball and accidentally flipped it so it was caught by the New England guy–so the quarterback gets the interception on his permanent record, so to speak, even though it wasn’t his fault.

I don’t think any interceptions were thrown directly to some dude on the opposite team, but Brady, the Patriots quarterback, got sacked and lost the ball (the only sack of the game), which the Eagles recovered and turned into a field goal (and three points). Because they took so much time, the Patriots couldn’t do much of anything in the last seconds of the game.

The Eagles won, 41-33.

The play where the Eagles dudes passed it to the quarterback (Foles) in the end zone for a touchdown was pretty cool.

Okay, one of the first commercials I’ll mention that caught my eye was actually the one from Wendy’s. It basically said a competitor freezes their beef and we don’t, so come try our freshly prepared jazz for yourself, will you?

This is actually the two-pronged fork of the benefit idea (mostly for you copywriters). You can talk about something that’s positive about what you’re offering, and mention something negative that someone else is doing and why you’re better.

This works for almost anything, but for some reason having close-ups of burgers made it pretty cool (and made me think of food even though I’d just eaten, darn it).

Not sure how many other ways I could put that. As long as you’re rock solid about the truth of the positives and negatives of what you’re comparing from a factual standpoint, you should be fine.

And drop me a line in the comments–did you watch the game? What did you think of it? And I’ll be using the Super Bowl for more creative juice throughout the week, so be sure to come back.

Until next time,

Ty

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Triple F: Which Way?

How’s your week been? We have a bit left before the weekend hits.

Let’s get to it.

Today is Triple F, aka awesomeness, aka prompt day. Some of my week was taken up by nondescript moaning about tech problems, but on the plus side, I did make contact with a second writer who handles niches I don’t–so from now on I’ll be on the hunt for gigs I can pass along, instead of just passing them up.

That’s good.

On the other hand, I’m faced with attempting to repair or retire an oldish machine of mine (depending on whether or not I can figure out what the problem is).

So for this week, Fabulous Fiction Friday is:

Your character’s stuck at a crossroads in life.

Now we fiction (a word I occasionally toss out there as an action word). Just one big plot point. You’d have to determine what it means–is your character lost mentally, emotionally, or physically? Or is the path ahead clear, but they’re afraid to take it for some reason? You’ll have to supply that jazz, along with gender, backstory, and what-have-ya to make this relevant to your character overall.

Maybe something like:

Madison can’t figure out which way to go in life–she loves her family and friends in New York, but an awesome gig in Chicago is calling her name. She wants to pretend she never heard about it, but the thing is, whoever sent her this offer knows about her power over water.

Or Rohan is running from a dead-end life, or so he thinks. Eventually, he’s in the middle of the woods. The sound of hoofs is getting closer. One path is dark and creepy, and the other is still dark, but not creepy. Which one should he choose?

That’s enough to get the mental snowball rolling.

February’s just barely underway here.

Make it a great weekend with good memories, all right?

This weekend is Super Bowl Sunday, and I don’t know if there will be anything cool to say about it, based on reports that I’ve heard (and I don’t mean about the game itself–that’s only a small part of what we do here). I hope to have enough material for a bunch of posts by next Monday.

Until next time (and week),

Ty

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I Expected Chocolate and Nuts, but Got This Instead…

How’s it going? Something interesting happened to me yesterday, and I never expected a grocery store to inspire me to write about unfamiliar things.

Let’s get to it.

Every Friday, a grocery store in my area (they’re national, but they have something like 5 different names, depending on where you live) has a promo for a free coupon for something, usually a food item.

Well, last week’s was a protein bar. Usually the store puts the thing that’s free in the front of the store in a two-tier metal bin that looks like a double wire rack or thereabouts.

On Sunday, I went hunting for the bar, but no go–in either store (the town I go to actually has two of the same store).

So yesterday, to save myself some frustration, I decided to ask around at the store to see if they had any of this bar thing, after I’d looked again in the health food section and didn’t find it.

So the checkout lady referred me to the service desk lady, who made some calls. Then a third lady came by with two of these bars.

I expected chocolate with some nuts maybe. Instead I got…

My pick of two small slabs of meat.

They got the protein part right. I asked if it was food for humans, and they said yes. A fourth woman said she tried one of them, and it was pretty good. So I picked that one, paid for it, and left (yes, you have to pay, even though it’s free–probably so the code that run through to take the electronic coupon off everyone’s store card when they buy it).

And when I was shown the packages, I realized they were the same as the one on the website–showing an animal.¬†Yeah, even a chicken on the package didn’t clue me in.

If you’re a writer, having clueless readers is something to avoid. If fiction is unfamiliar to people, as long as enough rules are followed (depending on your genre), readers will get it eventually. And they’ll have the familiar thing of characters going places and doing things to keep them company while they discover your story.

If you’re doing copywriting (emails, sales pages, or what-have-ya) and your solution is unfamiliar, you’ll have to work a little harder–here, though, the problem your prospects have will be the familiar thing for them.

A little like trying to find food in a grocery store–you know it has to be there somewhere.

Today is the first day of February, and tomorrow is Triple F. Make it a great month, and be sure to stop by for Fab Fiction Friday.

Until next time,

Ty

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I Thought I Was Stuck, and Then I Remembered This…

How’s it going? I was a teeny bit “eh” about what to write today, but then I realized what today was, and that I’d write about that.

Let’s get to it.

If you’re new(ish) here, you don’t know that I get sorta nostalgic at the very beginnings and ends of months during the year. Not sure why–maybe it’s because I enjoyed history as a kid.

So I usually call out the beginnings and ends of months as times to think about what went on, or what’s about to go on, based on what I have planned.

Stuff like finding writers I can refer work to so I don’t have to skip copywriting and content projects I’m not a good fit for (if things go well, I’m about to get a second guy lined up, who covers lots of niches I don’t).

Or finishing up my Twine submission to put my hat in the ring with a famous(ish) company.

Or writing other fiction.

And continuing to write to you so that you can read something from me 5 days a week.

There’s all that, all the time. That’s months and months and years of intentional planning, sketching, writing, brainstorming, and what-have-ya. But sometimes, just sometimes…

It helps to focus on one day at a time.

I could say it’s all we have, and it is. I could also say we need to have short- and long-term plans, and we do.

But there’s sometimes looking at today–just today–is what makes the most sense.

Today is January 31st. It’s a Wednesday, and I’ll be doing some shopping.

January’s about to wrap up. In a couple of days it’ll be Super Bowl Sunday.

My year’s started pretty well so far. How about yours? Drop me a line in the comments–I’d like to hear your thoughts on how things have been so far.

Until next time (and month),

Ty

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Tales from the Unpaid Intern Desk…

How’s it going? Today is a bit of a continuation from yesterday about pointing out other people’s errors.

Let’s get to it.

A copywriter I know whose list I’m on used the term “unpaid intern” to describe this type of a set-up–meaning people who point out errors other people make in short pieces just to make themselves look good.

That gives you the benefit of knowing where the error is so you can go fix it–without you having to shell out for the privilege–they just give you the correction on a silver platter.

He mentioned that this actually happened to a million dollar company–apparently that company had someone lunging for a refund because of a typo in some course materials (materials about proofreading and business, which to this particular pointer-outer, made the company look bad).

So instead of steaming out their ears or getting red in the face about it…

The company hired her.

Now she gets an inside look at the whole thing, and gets her pocket lined with bucks to find those errors–instead of doing it for free.

Sounds like a win-win to me, right?

Is this the only thing that can happen?

No.

You can also get contempt or be ignored, which is what happened to another copywriter whose list I’m on, who had a mistake in the piece she put out to get people subscribed to her email list (she helps musicians market themselves).

The guy started sputtering about how this lady’s credibility took a hit because of this error. So she just corrected the error and paid him no never mind.

Writing is hard–but I don’t think there’s room for people to be holes about correcting other peoples’ mistakes…I’ve got a story about why I stopped correcting grammar, but that’s the subject for another post.

And I think it depends on the attitude of both the pointer-outer and the one who’s made the mistake how the situation is handled–whether both people win, or only one.

Until next time,

Ty

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A Handy Formula You Should Never Follow…

How was your weekend? I got to do a bit of shopping this time, which was good (the store was fresh out, or never got, the protein bars they’d advertised for free–well, one free anyway–so I’ll have to wait).

The internet had a severe burp yesterday afternoon and went out for about 3-ish hours, but other than that, typical weekend stuff.

Let’s get to it.

Last night, after a test to determine if my laptop was still acting up (it is), I came across a post in a Facebook group I’m a member of about why nitpickers are a pain to have as customers. The post was actually about someone other than the poster, responding to an account of a typo in an email one of their customers received from them. The complaint seemed to center on professionalism, no one cares, and what-have-ya about why typos are bad.

There were all kinds of people in the comments talking about how one typo isn’t going to kill anything. and how people who nitpick about that kind of thing have something missing in their own lives (and even how cool it is to have someone else do the work for you, because they’re pointing out something you missed).

This was also mainly about shorter types of projects, which the poster pointed out (and someone else who mentioned that typos can make longer projects seem bumpy and confuse the reader).

As an editor and proofreader myself, I think the same way about things like this about professionalism and jazz like that. But there’s a point you eventually have to stop–and to me that’s crossing from being nice and genuinely concerned to crowing over someone else’s screw-ups just to lord it over them.

I still do editing, but for me personally, the parts I was adding together led to this result:

Editing/Proofreading + Near-Perfectionism = Insanity

I strive for excellence, sure, but sometimes that leads me to obsess, and that’s not good either.

Sometimes backing off is a good thing.

Until next time,

Ty

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Triple F: It’s Not What You Think…

How’s your week been? If you’ve been around for a week or so, you know the drill. If not, well…

Let’s get to it.

Today is Triple F, and a prompt. For this week’s Fabulous Fiction Friday, we have:

The exact opposite of what your character thinks will happen today, actually happens.

Gender, backstory, and what-have-ya will be up to you here. We could have:

A woman named Gisele thinking her day hunting alien bounties across the stars will be horrible…only to find out things are much easier and she ends up fulfilling more contracts than ever. How could this possibly be?

Or maybe Robbie thinks a job interview will be awesome (going the regular people and things route), until he’s splashed by a cab and has to drag himself to the building because two stray dogs have gotten the idea to treat his pant legs as chew toys.

That’s enough to get the mental snowball rolling, I figure.

In a little shy of one week, we’ll be fresh out of January 2018 around here.

Make it a great weekend, with good memories, all right?

Until next time (and week),

Ty

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I’m a Bit of a Slave to This…Are You?

How’s it going? With all this hubbub surrounding my laptop, there’s another thing I realized that has impacted me (or that I allowed to impact me) that I think relates well to writing itself (as well as productivity).

Let’s get to it.

Sometimes I’ll do a big buildup, and other times I won’t. Today, I’m thinking won’t. I’ve had to adjust certain things to accommodate my limping laptop’s wi-fi (and still haven’t figured things out just yet).

Which made me realize I’m a slave to–routine.

Because without a clear-cut plan, I’m mentally wandering around, trying to figure out what to do next. Or I’m stuck between whether to work out something old or adopt something new (like whether I can fix my laptop on my own, get someone else to, or if I just need to buy a whole new something, even though it’s not quite 3 years old).

That’s also why I have a to-do list (and where the link to writing or the writing world is here). That’s my routine, and now my laptop struggles to handle a couple parts of it.

I’ve also learned to evaluate what’s on the list every so often to figure out if those things are working for me or not. Sometimes I get so used to things, it’s hard for me to change out (unless I’m almost forced to by circumstances or what-have-ya).

I knew I was a slave to routine–this laptop controversy just served to reinforce it.

Tomorrow is Triple F (another routine that I like). Be sure to stop by.

Until next time,

Ty

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January Mud Leads to Mood Breakthrough?

How’s it going?

Let’s get to it.

For a non-weather blogger, I think I blog about weather a lot. Things in the Midwest have been super weird.

Monday it was over 50 degrees and muddy–in January. I almost couldn’t believe it. I wasn’t fanatically mad or anything, but I just thought “Ugh, why am I dealing with this now?” as mud squished beneath my shoes.

And today, two days later, we’ll reach the freezing mark, and that’s all. My footprints in the muddy grass will probably be frozen now–all TV crime-scenesque.

Getting back to the squishy mud, I realized something important. This relates to writing too, whether you’re writing fiction for yourself, submitting it to mags in print or online, or writing copy for clients. Enough dancing around the bonfire, here it is:

Don’t worry about stuff you have no control over.

You have zero control over whether an online magazine rejects your story or if a client wants revisions. Can you minimize the chances? Sure you can (and should). But the ultimate decision rests with somebody else.

It’s almost so simple, it’s stupid. At a gut level I think everyone knows this “don’t worry” stuff.

It is hard? You bet. If this were easy, everyone would be doing it. That’s why not a lot of people do. In fact, complaining about stuff out of your control is one of the easiest things to do that there is.

Just so you know, my name is at the top of the list of all the people who need to know this or put this into practice more consistently in their lives.

I find I’m a lot happier and relaxed when I do.

Until next time,

Ty

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Why I Hate Attending Webinars…

How’s it going? I almost spilled all the beans in the title right there, as far as that goes.

Let’s get to it.

I watched a webinar yesterday (I should have been hunting online for a new computer or what-have-ya, but curiosity got the better of me).

Through the excellent tips, great stories, and more, I knew in the back of my mind there’d be an offer at the end. There always is.

I’m not opposed to that–as a copywriter, why would I be?

It’s just that as a whole, webinars are carefully constructed to make me sorry I missed out–maybe I could say SIMO instead of FOMO.

After the presenter made his combo offer with the guy who’d be teaching the class offered, the feeling crept in on me.

Darn it.

If I do need a new computer (and things are tending toward absolutely), that has to take precedence.

I could use the free tips in the webinar, but I know they won’t be as powerful as if I took the training itself. On the bright side, I learn something from every webinar I attend, even if I don’t buy at the end.

I’m at the point in my life though where I want to strive to concentrate on one thing fully, instead of three or four things halfway.

How about you? Drop me a line in the comments.

Until next time,

Ty

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