Long-term Catalog Writing Equals Brain Mush
Welcome to Writer Rants–where every Friday a writer just lets loose on whatever the heck is bugging him this week. Enjoy.
I put myself in a bad, bad spot.
As an experienced content writer, I will definitely be quick to see the value in a good-paying job, especially one that is regular and provides a steady income source. I paid my due of weeks and months searching for work, pitching bids, and doing sales hoping to land enough of the big one each month. Reliable work is a good thing.
Unfortunately, I have fallen into the lucrative but deadly trap of catalog description writing. It seemed simple enough. Honestly, I can belt out 100 word scripts quickly and accurately, practically oozing descriptions day and night. However, there’s only so many ways one can describe a kitchen cart on wheels or the sanitizing benefits of stainless steel.
You Want Casters? We’ve Got Casters.
Kitchen carts roll on specific, durable wheels dubbed casters. They come in different sizes and are usually made of material designed to survive a nuclear war. I personally think some factory locked a caveman in a room, and he spends his days chiseling caster wheels out of granite. These wheels come in big and small sizes, which makes a huge difference when pushing a cart. Seriously. Little wheels get stuck in cracks or floor separations. When that happens, everything falls off the cart, the waiter or staffperson gets injured, and avoidable expenses go up. So little wheels usually equal bad things. Big wheels on utility carts are great for rolling over all types of floors, even uneven ones, but they look horrible and they make a loud clatter, even when oiled. You learn these things after writing about caster wheel specs for six weeks straight.
Stainless Steel is…Flat.
The invention of stainless steel is a bit of an amazing thing. Normally, metal, when exposed to air and particularly moisture, starts to oxidize. We call this “rust.” However, stainless steel involves the incorporation of a layer that sits between the metal and air. As soon as the seal is penetrated, it closes up again. So the oxidation never sets in to start the rusting effect. It makes the material perfect for kitchen tools and utensils because it can be cleaned so easily. Unfortunately, after describing this aspect 400 times in a job, one gets to the point of wishing, just once, that damn stainless steel would rust. It would force the entire commercial kitchen world back 2,000 years to stone and wood. Food might actually get a bit more interesting as well. Of course, the risk of food poisoning might go up, but risk tends to excite people anyways, so it’s a trade-off.
Catalog Writing is Unhealthy
As you can see above, when one writes hundreds of ads about dish dispensers, kitchen carts, and tray racks all day long, the brain has to go somewhere to get through the dull redundancy. So we writers imagine ways the entire world order my be upset by stainless steel oxidation or imperfect caster wheels. If we didn’t, the alternative might involve us running out into the street with a laptop screaming at the top of our lungs and swinging at imaginary kitchen ads. And tomorrow I will write more kitchen ads all over again.
Tom L has been writing for 20 plus years, but if the next 20 years is predominantly catalog writing he might just quit early to avoid the mental pain involved.