The 'X' Factor.

You know how the minute you hit 'submit' to something you get the best opening line of an article or comment you wrote which didn't feel right yet you sent it anyway? No? Never happened to you? Oh dear! are those your pants on fire?

Let me save my pants by stating that it has happened to me enough times to merit a post about it. The first time it happened was my very first freelance article back home. I had agonized over the beginning of the piece for three days with no luck. The day the article went for printing it hit me. That perfect opening line. The hook that was needed to burst into the entertainment industry as an up and coming freelancer. That catch phrase that would have made my editor smugly claim me as one of her finds. But it was too late and I ended up as one of the many freelancers in the field who did just okay in her first published piece.

But this isn't what this post is about. It's about my latest miss of the hits and misses series. Darren Rowse of
Problogger did a post in he invited his readers promote their blog in 140 characters or less. By the time I got to the post there were already 598 comments on the post. I randomly went through about 30. After the first few they all started sounding the same. Sadly when submitted my comment, it did too.

I sat with my fingers poised over the keyboard for nearly five minutes trying to come up with a sales pitch for my blog that was 140 characters long. I linked this blog to my name and came up with 140 characters alright.

The trials and triumphs of a newbie freelancer. The when, where, what and how much of freelancing as learned through practicing the trade.
Do you see what's wrong with this? There's nothing about the comment that is standing out. The 'X' factor is missing which would make Darren and other readers (those who make it to comment # 599) sit up and take notice. So what happens when I click on 'submit'? The perfect sales pitch arrives in my head.

Hi. My name is Samar
Owais and 'The Base' is your beginning.

Sixty-four characters is all it would have taken to
give my sales pitch that punch. The above sentence is cocky. It would have made people raise eyebrows as they'd have mocked the writer for her ignorance. It even has shock value. Seasoned freelancers don't like anyone telling them that someone thinks they should begin again, which is what the statement will sound like to most. It has the X factor which separates me from the sea of comments.

Whatever their reasons it would have made people click on my blog which would have been linked under it's name i.e The Writing Base. They would have skimmed it quickly to see what I was harping about with my bold statement at Problogger. And they would have found out that the blog was about a new freelancer who was struggling to find her first gig. They would have identified with where I am today.

Every freelancer has been where I am now. New to the field with little or no credentials I am every
freelancer's humble beginning.
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Sal said...
October 30, 2008 at 1:14 PM  

Samar, I am just going back through and rereading some of your later posts. You don't know how many times that has happened to me, but since I haven't been published since 7th grade (wow, that was a while ago) I understand this on the base of witty comments. I usually come up with the best wit that I can whip around in no time flat, but as soon as I spit it out, there is another one behind it and, alas, too late, timing is gone, laughter has died down and I have missed my opportunity.

A day late and a dollar short, the story of my life.

I really do like the sound of the second one though. That is a keeper for the portfolio definately!

Samar Owais said...
October 30, 2008 at 2:30 PM  

It has happened to me for most of my life! Every time I'm having a debate with someone, I'll have the perfect comeback just after the moment has passed. Its very irritating to say the least! If you ever come up with a better comments after posting one on my blog, feel free to leave another comment with the perfect line. We all need our second chance at the perfect reply!

P.S: 7th grade was a while ago for me too =)

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