I was a copy writer for about eight hours this week. I was employed by a content farm. I would produce weekly blogs for clients at about $15 a pop. After I established myself as a viable content farmer I would be given larger assignments, at $50 to $75 per piece. You can see where this is going. My first assignment was sort of a test run, to see if I was up to it. I had to produce roughly 300 hundred words on hair extensions. Hair. Extensions. … Here’s how that turned out:

Most famous celebrity haircuts for men

The Bieber – I propose we start calling this one ‘The Skywalker’ because that’s really how it all started. Want yourself a Bieber? Just swear off hair cuts for about six months or so. Every man has had a Bieber, whether intentional or not.

The Clooney – Why is George Clooney famous again? Because of that one hair cut in the 90s, a period in time when we really seemed to care about fictional character’s hairstyles (see also The Aniston). Consider that Clooney hasn’t had a bona fide success since, then behold the power of stylish hair. It can even garner you cultural relevance when none should be afforded.

The Levine (aka The Smug No-Hawk) – Adam Levine is semi famous for being a judge on a talent show called (in my mind) Sing Song Ding Dong, otherwise known as The Voice. He sports a vague Mohawk, or No-hawk, thusly ensuring mass appeal. Whereas a more traditional Mohawk might frighten old ladies, Levine looks like a guy you can take home to your mother. But that doesn’t mean he’s not cool. A quick muss job and suddenly he looks like one of the kids again, albeit unduly smug for someone of his status.

The Pattinson – Robert Pattinson is known for his messy, just rolled out of the coffin hair. Women shriek in terror when he even thinks about lopping off his windswept mane. The bum down the street has the same hairstyle, yet no one seeks his autograph. Odd.

The (oil slicked) Jersey Shore – This one’s been around a lot longer than the show with which it shares its name. It’s achieved by dumping a vat of gel into one’s hair then spending hours rolling it between your fingers into little pin-like spikes. Also used as a defensive strategy, good for head butting in bar room brawls.

Now, up to that point it was pretty rough going. I almost started the blog ‘I remember when hair extensions used to be for skanky women and whores…’ After that I said fuck hair extensions, let’s go balls deep on this concept until it’s begging for mercy. Which I did, and thusly wrote myself out of a job.

To say I’m desperate for money is an understatement. When you start considering the ‘jiggling titty cam’ to make ends meet you know you have a real problem. So when I came across this content farm thing I thought, fuck, why can’t I do that? Before the ink dried I felt like a failure. I heard Bill Hicks in my head. He was saying,

By the way, if anyone here is in marketing or advertising…kill yourself. Thank you. Just planting seeds, planting seeds is all I’m doing. No joke here, really. Seriously, kill yourself, you have no rationalization for what you do, you are Satan’s little helpers. Kill yourself, kill yourself, kill yourself now.

To think that Hicks (PBUH) was looking at me from somewhere in the cosmos, offering a stank eye, that was too much to take. But I fought it off. Hicks didn’t have my money or legal problems. So I forged ahead. I gave the best copy I could muster. I wrote the shit out of that copy.

While everyone agreed what I wrote was funny, it was not marketable, as they say. Clients would balk at my tone, my language, and just about every other variable. It was too edgy. I had to be drier, less of an individual. I’m a writer, surely I could do that? Well, apparently not. Who the fuck wants to read a hair extension blog anyway?

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STACIE ADAMS is a drinker with a writing problem. She's currently working on a novel and hopes to complete it before the world ends in 2012. When she's not reading or writing she's at the bar telling people about the time she saw Queens of the Stone Age in a fortress in Germany. Her alter ego can be found at The First Church of mutterhals

27 responses to “Eight Hours as a Copywriter”

  1. Gloria says:

    I love your hair extensions blog. It’s funny. I love lists. Maybe you should start your own content farm blog? Turn the whole concept on its head perhaps (and make millions [*pinky to mouth*] doing it!)

    What is PBUH? I thought I knew all things Hicks…

    • SAA says:

      It’s just some Muslim thing I appropriated. I heard it as ‘praise be upon him’ initially but I guess it’s more commonly ‘peace be upon him.’ I’m big on pan-cultural blasphemy. I’m glad someone liked that shit, I loved writing it. Thanks.

  2. Brad Listi says:

    Glad to know I’m not the only one who feels the cosmic judgment of Hicks.

    I don’t want to let that man down.

    • SAA says:

      To be fair, Bill didn’t have a massive student loan to pay off. Were that the case maybe he would have changed his tune. I only say that to make myself feel better.

  3. Mary Richert says:

    Who the fuck, indeed. Good call. Sometimes it’s totally acceptable to write yourself out of a job.

  4. Greg Olear says:

    1. I quote that Hicks line in my new book.

    2. I forgot about Clooney’s silly early 90s haircut. The neo-Caesar. But come now, “Burn After Reading” is one of the funniest films of the last decade.

    3. For a few years there, I did to my hair whatever Tom Cruise did to his. Long for the vampire movie, short for what came next, and I got mine to look exactly like his in Magnolia. I stopped doing this, thank God, but I still attend support groups about it.

    • Gloria says:

      Respect the cock.

    • SAA says:

      I’ll give you Burn After Reading, but that was less about Clooney and more about the Coen brothers. (As an aside, I think my all time favorite Coen Bros. movie is A Serious Man. I can’t explain how much I fucking love that movie)

      Regarding hair, I haven’t had a proper hair cut in years, I’m usually hovering half way between a mullet and a mohawk, so I really had no business writing a hair blog in the first place.

  5. Is it ironic that your column bemoaning the advertising job has a Kim’s ad for shoes on the side of it? Whoever allowed that, please hang yourself immediately. 🙂

  6. James D. Irwin says:

    Imagine how much funnier Hicks would have been if he’d sold out and got his own sitcom though… fear of success, that was his problem…

    I fucking love Bill Hicks.

    But there’s little more depressing than writing a stand up routine and then later watching a clip of Hicks and realising just how painfully inferior, unoriniginal, and fucking unfunny you are.

    • SAA says:

      I read this really cool quote from Tom Waits on Bill Hicks, it was something like ‘others will drive on the road he paved’. He was not like a fucking human being, he was something else.

      • James D. Irwin says:

        That sounds just about right.

        ‘American’ remains one of the greatest documentaries I’ve ever seen.

    • Gloria says:

      And delivery. That man could deliver a line as if he’d just thought of it just then.

      • James D. Irwin says:

        I read a book once.

        That’s not a boast.

        No, I read a book called ‘Love All the People’ which includes a few interviews, letters, and journals but is almost entirely transcripts of various sets Hicks performed. It’s all the really famous stuff sort of over and over and over again. But what’s fascinating is seeing the same jokes evolve in minute ways on their path towards perfection… a single idea growing…

        And whilst Hicks was a naturally gifted comic, it’s amazing to see the intense amount of work that went into every single line of every single show.

  7. Jeffro says:

    I love this (and sadly hang my head. I do some marketing and advertising in my day job). Ironically, I was just listening to the Short Music for Short People compilation and heard that Bill Hicks quote: Unwritten Law, “Armageddon Singalong.”

    • SAA says:

      I don’t know what happened to the comment I left before. At the risk of repeating myself, I think I had that comp and I also worked in marketing when I was employed. I liked all the visual stuff, but I hated doing copy. I was also responsible for the actual production of the stuff because the company was too cheap to go to Kinkos or wherever. I was like a one woman marketing firm.

  8. […] Adams writes on the Nervous Breakdown: I was a copy writer for about eight hours this week. I was employed by a content farm. I would […]

  9. J.M. Blaine says:

    You’ll either take this
    as scorn or praise
    but everytime I see
    your features pic
    I wonder if anyone
    has started an all-girl
    Misfits tribute band
    & I can sorta see you
    barking “We Are 138”
    which I happen to think
    is one of the top five
    most important songs
    of all time.

    But I think weird
    that way.

  10. Matt says:

    After being fired from my (crappy) day job I spent most of 2007 trying to make a living as a freelance copywriter. And to prove that it was possible to live on 1/2 of a meal every two days.

    I was terrible at it.

    Not the writing bit; I actually generated pretty good copy. But I hated chasing down clients, and even worse, trying to get them to pay their bills. It’s like they could smell the whiff of desperation I exuded even over the phone, and knew I could be bought for a three day old box of Entanmann’s donuts and some powdered TANG.

    Never got to write anything as cool as your hair extensions list, alas.

    • SAA says:

      Thanks! I have a really hard time playing it straight, which I should have know before I agreed to do the job. The editor seemed to have a lot more faith in me than I did.

  11. I read this last week and just realized I got distracted by the boy child and forgot to comment.

    Hair extensions. Bleh. Crap topic. But your celebrity haircuts for men made me laugh. Yer funny, lady. (:

    Speaking of funny (and smart): Bill Hicks. Awesome.

    Unrelated: Have you seen the Josh Homme “No Reservations” with Anthony Bourdain (Travel Channel) yet? I thought of you immediately when I saw it in my DVR queue. If you missed it, I think it plays again at some point today/tonight. JOSHJOSHJOSHJOSHJOSH. Good lord, I love that pretty, pretty man.


    • SAA says:

      I did see this, I had a tequila viewing party in honor of it. I love that you thought of me, we should start a Josh Homme fan club, we can call ourselve the Hommians. Regarding the letter, who the hell would get in Josh’s face? And I love that his daughter was pissed because Anthony Bourdain broke his guitar.

      As far as the copy thanks for saying it was funny. I was feeling all high and mighty when I first posted this, now I’m beating myself up for not making some money from it. Idealism is no match when you’re flat broke and jobless.

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