Montaditos made with Iberian ham and Manchego, Gambas a la Plancha, deep fried baby squid…
If you’re a hardcore foodie (or just a devout Anthony Bourdain or Food Network groupie), you probably already know that tapas originated in Spain and that these small finger foods, eaten in a casual and relaxed setting, have taken the culinary world by storm. Tapas are a style of eating that’s become the desired alternative to sitting in stuffy Michelin Star restaurants, eating overpriced Duck Confit and pretending it’s a cultural experience. France is crying in its Chablis right now.
So what makes the tapas experience so remarkable? For starters, the setting is convivial and communal; starched white linen, the Vermeer-style still life, and pretentious, pencil-mustached Maître d’s have no place in this food chain. Second, tapas are all about variety. Many Spaniards will skip the large, formal meal and spend an entire evening hitting tapas bars, sampling a wide selection of traditional appetizers and local and regional specialties.
Small Plates of Content
Writing. Food. Self-discovery; nope, you better save those themes for Eat Pray Love. This culinary metaphor is less existential. The client who’s looking to hire a content writer is going on a literary tapas crawl. And here’s how:
1. The Content Providers
Some good, some bad, and nobody’s naming names, there’s a surplus of content providers on the Internet. Finding the one that suits your needs can be a challenge as well as an experiment. To make matters more difficult, however, these providers go by a handful of different names and aliases. There are content mills, content producers, professional content publishers, and writing marketplaces, just to name a few.
In other words, your’e not only going to have to sample a handful of tapas (providers) before you settle on a favorite, but reading the menu might be a challenge as well. Boquerones en vinagre, anyone? Caracoles? Muslitos de Mar?
2. So Many Different Writers
“My very photogenic mother died of a freak accident (picnic, lightning) when I was three.”
Vladimir Nabokov wrote this famous line in 1955, and whatever you might think of the rest of his boundary-pushing novel Lolita, this sentence is a clear-cut gem. Those two simple nouns, “Picnic, Lightning,” tell a complete story; it’s a phrase that’s commonly referenced to describe the importance of voice in writing.
As Different as Cheese and Chalk
Variety. Diversity. Tapas. There are so many different writers with so many different takes on style, voice and tone, that you’re probably going to have to sample several small plates of content before you find exactly what you’re looking for. Some writers opt for brevity and a clinically concise, academic tone, while others scaffold their prose with complex sentences; some burnish their text with flowery, purple adjectives, while others want lean and muscular sentences.
If finding the right content writer isn’t like a traditional Spanish tapas crawl, then perhaps it’s like a Las Vegas style buffet.
Damon H is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.