Whooftah! Just have to take a break from filling in (what has turned out to be) an extensive application to be a free-lance blogger for the "Examiner", an online news source that launched in April of last year.
I got to the point (almost at the very end) where the application read, "To demonstrate your subject matter expertise, in 200-300 words, please write a brief article within your niche using a local angle," and I thought, "Ye Gods! Now they want me to submit another article, when I have already written* going on 500!!" I - literally - could not continue. I could not bring myself to write another word for that application. I'll come back to it, of course, but it will be later ... much later!
*I'm referring to "Goldenrod's thoughts" here. The 'going on 500' were not all on the subject of bridge, of course, the area of expertise in which I am applying. Most specifically, I would like to submit articles on duplicate bridge in Houston and the surrounding areas. Only 16 of the 485 that I have previously published were labeled "Bridge".
Why am I feeling so frustrated? Well, 1) even tho their ad read that a Bachelor's degree was 'desired', it was not until I reached #4 (see below) that I was asked to state my education credentials. 2) I was asked how long I had lived in Houston and then - to prove how long it had been, I guess! - to provide an 'insider's tidbit of knowledge' about the city. After thinking and thinking and thinking yet some more, I finally wrote, My goodness! You'd think that, especially as a taxicab driver for almost 18 of those years, I could think of something!! Hang on a sec, OK? All right, let's go with this. Houston might be the largest city in the US that has no zoning ... all governed by deed restrictions. Is that lame or what? I mean, I ask you! Lame, right? :(
3) I was asked, "What would you like to write about? Why will readers will be interested and care about what you write? How will you enrich their lives?" My answer? Ever since Warren Buffett and Bill Gates announced their 'love affair' with duplicate bridge and teamed up as partners, the whole world - but most particularly those of us here in the US - has sat up and taken notice. The game of bridge has no age or physical constraints, other than that of mental acuity. Through my own (almost life-long) passion for the game, I can offer hope and encouragement for the timid, insights into the world of duplicate bridge, profiles of the many studios as well as individual teachers here in the Houston area and even post Q&A-type columns once a week if there's a demand. Bridge is a wonderful way to meet people and stretch your mind's capabilities.
4) The next section of the application went on to read, "Examiners (I would be listed as an 'examiner') are credible experts in their chosen topics. They are passionate, dedicated and possess a deep background in the topics they write about. What experience, degree (only mention of a degree!) or background makes you qualified to write about your topic?" I answered, I have been playing bridge for almost 68 years ... ever since I was tall enough to see over the top of a card table while standing! Although I am not playing nearly as often as I once did, I am a Life Master and would rank my game as "A+" on defense, "A" on declarer play and "B+" on bidding. I have taught bridge for many many years. Have one private beginning class going at the present time, and am enjoying 'mentoring' at a bridge studio near my home once or twice each month.
5) Next, the application read, "What insight, perspective or approach can you offer readers that will make what you write more compelling than what they can find elsewhere? What makes you different?" At this point I have to tell ya, guys, that I was waning. Still, however, I made an attempt to answer the question. I wrote, I'm not sure if anything would make me 'different', per se, other than my - or so I've been told by others - unique writing style.
6) I was asked to create three unique headlines I could/would write for my topic. Really searching here, I came up with a) Bridge?? Why me? Why now? b) Join the club! and c) Teaching an old dog new tricks!
I was stopped deader than a doornail by their request for a 200-300 word 'brief article within my niche using a local angle'. I'm telling you, deader than the proverbial doornail! Ugh! Absolutely had to take a break! (Manana es otro dia, right? Right.)
You know what this reminds me of? It reminds me of when - 40+ years ago - my ex-husband, who was teaching at Ohio State University at the time, was asked to fill out an application for a government grant to fund a research project for his department.
He brought it home with him because there were so many pages and so many blanks that had to be filled out. He hadn't wanted to take the time out of his teaching day to do it. Didn't think it was fair to his students, and of course it wasn't!
On about the 35th or 36th page - hope you understand that I'm exaggerating here, but not one whole heck of a lot! - and tired of the same question being asked for the gazillionth time, he finally started making up answers. "Who was your father?" "Santa Claus." "Your mother's maiden name?" "Mary Mary quite contrary." Stuff like that. I kid you not! He had had it up to his eyeballs with the government's bureaucracy, unnecessary forms and paperwork.
The head of his department had to okay the application and really didn't want to send it in. He said, "I can understand how you might feel like this, but really!" My husband insisted, "Send it in just as it is. I'm not spending another second on this worthless piece of ****!"
Do you want to know what became of that application? It was approved!
Now, I certainly have not spent the time on this application that my husband did on his, but I'm going to call it a day. Will tackle it again tomorrow when I have a fresher perspective. Two more essay-type questions to reply to, the second of which is a bio. That one will be easy!