Friday, October 6, 2017

"Call To Action" or "Please 'Like Me!"

So, when did it become necessary to include a "call to action" at the end of an article or blog? I have a sneaking suspicion that quantity over quality has become the normal S.O.P. for the entertainment driven (and quasi-news) websites. Even worse are those blogs/articles/pieces that are so short and valueless that a "call to action" might even seem refreshing. I can't stand the Call to Action. It sounds as if the writer is begging to be liked, shared or blessed with a comment.

I mean, "Seriously?"
It seems as though, the more I read, the less information I am allowed to consume, and I believe it is largely due to shortened word counts and topically abbreviated subject matter. It's kinda' like panning for gold, only it's wading through a 1/2 page of pablum to get to the ever-dwindling nuggets of pure fact. More and more frequently my reading (information mining) is brought to a complete halt by the third or fourth paragraph with some lame closing summary intertwined in a Call To Action. "Awe jeeze! Come-on! Really? I wasted good reading time on this?"

Sure, that video thumbnail looks interesting and the real hooks still lie (sic) in the title and its "summarial accomplice", but speaking for myself, I would as much enjoy the story behind the video, as I would enjoy viewing it. That's where the disappointment starts. Two paragraphs of simplistic summary, and a third, full of: "hey! if you like this write a comment.." or "have you...?" "what do you think..?" and: "follow us/me/them/it.. on whatever...!" but not another thing about the image or video or image set. Sadly, most times that media was indeed worth watching... once you've successfully breached the wall of nonsense. I don't know about you but I like my digestables full of the things I want to learn.

(Oh look! There is a hidden call to action in that last paragraph! No, It's not where you think. Can you find it? Hint: it's subliminal)
(Holy crap! there's one just above this sentence too!)

Guy Has a Point...
Farhad Manjoo, in his June, 2013 post: "You Won't Finish This Article" points out that a large percentage of website visitors never scroll further than 65 percent down any given page unless the content is engaging enough for the reader to continue. Right there makes my point about how the articles' quality and relevant content is more important. Besides, if the reader thinks your work sucks, they will never reach your Call to Action anyway.

Yes. It is well understood that there is a ton of content to be written and as many writers competing for that work. I once punched a clock for a few weeks at a content mill and found out that much of what they were accepting from my fellow peanut-paid freelancers was pure re-hashing of common knowledge packaged a little tighter than the last time with some updated images and heavy use of plagiarism avoidance techniques. Happily for me, there were a few assignments that required far less contextual regurgitation and I enjoyed writing in/on or about new things.

Although I was still required to compose original and clever calls to action, it felt like I was hookin' for exposure. Burying it somewhere near the end of the piece wasn't so bad though, because a casual reader can be affected subliminally while engaged in the text. As a frequent reader myself, I would prefer to suffer through that tactic as long as the article or blog was provocative, entertaining or informative enough to win my comment.

Boiling it Down
If  the writer understands the power of his craft, he will put forth the effort needed to illicit conversation about the subject written. In other words, if you join a conversation with the intent to promote its continuing dialog and write accordingly, it is natural for the interested reader/listener to proffer their own knowledge or opinion, thus adding to the intellectual discourse. There would be no need for a call to action. The work presented will have been its own imperative.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Writers Residency: A New Twist

Beyond the blog, beyond the burning desire to hammer out clever bits of fiction, I still have to earn a dependable paycheck. Oh would that I could thrive on the income of just writing to my hearts content, but it is still too soon to drop my trowel and send my overalls to the waste bin. Such is life.

Working for a living has it's ups and downs just like everything else in America. Rare indeed is the time I get to to write about what's on my mind, or to create fantastic worlds of fiction from the dregs of ink at the bottom of the well. There are however some writers that go about plying their craft without the haranguing of creditors, landlords or other monetary distractions. Alas and alack! This is not me... just yet.

For some, the assets of ample time and low costs of living make the prospect of a writer's residency very attractive. The writers residency tact has been practiced for ages and many of our most prolific authors have, upon a time or two, availed themselves of distant habitats and surroundings in order to focus clearly on the novelizing at hand. But it's not just for The Fictionaires, no sir. Travelgoobs, Biographic-ers and especially Poetstetics, all may travel hither and yon to be, or not to be where their inspirations are the most deeply tapped or from where creativity is squelched.

Much has already been written on the matter and can be accessed in seconds without clever search terms, so I won't bore you with details that the Internet knows more about than I do. This is a hopefully-short tale of how I came about engaging in an occupation that did both earn myself a living wage while removing myself from everything that had kept me from writing. Of course, home-sickness, fear and loneliness crept in from time to time, but we are only human, so... on with it.

Local employment prospects were grim in my chosen carrier field and I was soon obliged to seek employment at whatever my skilled hands could do. So, I explored options far afield and there, found opportunity. This "occupational opportunity" involved the routine servicing of Hospitality infrastructure and dedicated in-room appliances. Per Diem was paid along with the working wage and a "room at the Inn" was provided to me at no cost for as long as the maintenance term lasted.

When complete, my team and I moved on to the next facility and began our routine once more. The locations of these major hotel chains precluded any thought of a weekend visit to my home as the distances were, most times, far too great. The job at hand turned out to be quite physical in nature but the toils of the day were never too long. I had many quiet evenings with which to conjure witty words, pablum-atic ad copy or the bony skeletons of original fictions. Journaling, as it turned out, took up a lot of my free time; but writing is writing and some important stuff got done.

To have order in my life, to be uninterrupted and have peace. Three things I was desperate for, but only got two. Not counting a new understanding of what it would take for me to cross over into full time freelancing. I found that: "Well managed time and an organized space are absolutely crucial to productive writing commitments". I had realized that the issue wasn't; "what was keeping me from writing". Everything I needed was already there, just not as organized, not as committed and most certainly un-appreciated. Plus, I had no inner peace. (that's kind-of a biggie right there.)

But that's just me.

I accepted the hard truth that it was up to me and only me, to set my priorities to rights and get done what needs to be done and not to cheat my self out of the time I need to write. For some, the place to write is where they feel the most secure wherever that may be; for others, prolific writing comes from extracting themselves from their own realities and go somewhere else to study the subject, enjoin the culture or to embrace the genre in which they write.

To thee I wouldst say: "Sally forth and follow thy quill!"

Mine lead me home again.

Thursday, May 15, 2014


Words mean things. Words that sound alike can mean completely different things. On occasion, words mean much more than just how they are written, or used in context. Misused words take on a life of their own and find their way in to our modern English Lexicon more times than you might think. How they get there is only a matter of whit, repetition and how fun it is to speak that word or say that phrase; it's popularity, if you will.
But, above all else, there is the creative mind of the creator that created the creation. In other words, the whack-job that thunk-it up. The "Wordsmith".

Have a look at the modern day Lingua Franca. I prefer the term "World Common", but it's really just British/American English. No, it's not "but-just"... it "is"... It is the most complicated language to understand, yet it has become THE most versatile tongue known to human kind. A perfect language to write with, in my humble opinion (Notice how I didn't use the acronym? Acronyms suck. Acronyms are for lazy people.)

To accurately convey one's thought through the written word, one must have a good grasp of the language in which they are communicating (of course). Some folk do this very well, while others simply do not have the literary cognition to assemble even a small collection of semi-coherent verbiage. But for the most part, I believe the majority of us can, when pressed, bang out an "I miss you" letter or a cleverly penned original "get well" note and live to tell about it.

And then there are those of use who think very deeply about what it is that we are trying to say when we ply our craft, making those thoughts real by permanently marking them on paper, thereby bringing those thoughts to life in the very word it was written in. And it even goes much deeper, right down to the root of the word.

Let's use the word "conjugate" for an example (I used to giggle at the word conjugate, the way the other kids giggled when they heard every other word spoken by the Sex-Ed teacher). It means: "having the same derivation and therefore usually some likeness in meaning <conjugate words>" or "joined together especially in pairs : coupled". Of course, in my pea-sized prepubescent brain, words were having sex and stand-up comedy was born.  See: "Class Clown".

I wonder who it was or who "they" were that figured out all the clever ways to use words like "there", "they're, "their" or "balls". Like as not, it was in the evolution of generational slang that compelled Webster to add words to it's lists that, twenty years prior would have sounded inane or considered nothing more than gibberish.

But what's the fun of just minding the rules of writing? Just because your 90-year-old English teacher says you should not begin a sentence with "and" or "but" doesn't mean it won't work in practice. Sometimes, writing outside of convention does a better job of conveying a complicated thought than just writing the word "Hello"...

But wait! There's more!

"Wordsmithing" is a word that is a perfect example. A "Smith" is someone who makes things out of other things that were mostly unrelated, and enjoys the snot out of it enough to make a living at it. A dictionary is a great list of "words" that are mostly unrelated until you break out the Thesaurus. Just dip your quill in a bottle of imag-ink-nation... and presto! You have a brand new word.

Where the Blacksmith has raw iron to rend, the Wordsmith has letters, words and phrases that, when molded into just the right thought can say exactly what he is thinking regardless of whether or not the words, letters or phrases actually exsisted before he thought of writing then down. That's the kind of wordsmithing I'm talking about!

This post was conceived purely out of mental idleness. That is when I'm not thinking about anything other than random ideas and bending the English language to suit my mad-cap mental adventures. Then someone said something and it sounded like something else and then a completely unrelated word popped  up. So, right then and there, I made up a phrase that used three separate words, mashed into just two words with a hyphen in the first, and the whole concoction actually sounded like it meant something.

Then, things got strange (like they always do) as I started to define this newly wrought literary phenomenon. This is, for me at least, the best part of wordsmithing. Not only might I have coined and defined a word or phrase that may possibly endure the test of a generation, I get to be the expert on it's history and usage. Bonus!

Oh, yeah... Someone in the room was talking about the Michael J. Fox movie trio, "Back to the Future" and since I was in a world of my own writing HTML and CSS codes, I began to think about what it must have been like for the scriptwriters trying to make the "foreword into the past" thing pan-out on a movie set.

The word was: "retro-perspectual conceptation".

I think it's a verb.

Originally posted on April 14, 2013 - "Write... NOW!" blog.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Hello World! (originally published on May 12, 2012 as Michael Cairo "Write Now")

Heh heh heh... I always wanted to say that.
So, with that said, I would like to introduce: Myself. Hello back. I am quite well thank you.

Not a whole lot to post up about at the moment, (yes there is) as this is just a fine "How'd ya’-do" for the launch of this simple self-instructional blogging attempt. Themes, Backgrounds, and Content will evolve as this blogger learns the way of the blogosphere.

One thing is for certain: This small spot on the web will be this Writers outlet to inform, encourage, share and sample the wonderful world that is the Written Word.

I am a Wordsmith. I love words. I love putting them together in new ways, saying new things or creating whole worlds out of a pile of pure participles. Very much like a Potter, a Cooper, or a Wainwright creates useful objects and consumer commodities from raw materials. Oh wait!  I've got it! How 'bout: A Literary Husbandman. "He who doth reap bountiful scrivenage from fertile linguistic soil".

OK, that was weird... but still, if Purina®, Kellogg® or General Mills®  made a cereal out of words, they could call it: "Honey-Nut Dictionary Crunch" or "Cinnamon Toasted Hyperbole-O’s" and I'd eat them for breakfast. It really is that bad. (Or is that a good thing?)

Alphabet Soup you say? Nasty stuff. Comes in a can but I can't spell that well. I do have an immense grasp of the English vocabulary (and a finger on a few other languages and dialects), but, please don't ask me to spell "vocabulary".

There will be no scheduled posts, or time-frames to adjust to, just subscribe and wait for another wit-filled piece about writing in general to pop up on some feed or whatever you have, and enjoy!