Beating the Biscuits out of the Bears

Snarling Bear

What are you supposed to do when you’re hiking along a trail, happy as a lark in a predator-free environment, when, son of a biscuit, there’s a bear, like, right there, growling and frothing and pawing the ground like a bull, although he’s only seen those on TV because we know that bulls and bears only get together in the stock market, ready to have you, yes you, for lunch?

You don’t run, right? Run, and, bango, the bear’s looking for bread because he’s ready for a you-sandwich. No, no, no. You make yourself look much bigger than you really are, right? You need to suddenly grow six inches and six sizes and froth at your mouth and shake your head like, dude, there is something really wrong with you. If you do that, chances are pretty good that the bear will remember that he’s on one of those low-carb diets, and really, you look a little fluffy, like maybe you’re stuffed with mayonnaise, and well, gee, maybe he left the kids on the stove and, maybe some other time, huh?

In the world of online writing, the bear is the vast void of the Internet, the inescapable sea of voices, writers just like you, well, almost a lot like you, sort of, that yell dude, it’s me! Read my stuff! Just like the frothing fellow on the trail, this bear eats you – well, your work – and away it goes, and you find yourself looking down the path wondering how come you worked so hard but got nothing but bear-bite marks on your keester. And, just like the trail-growler’s lunch, you die, because, as writers, we all die when our work goes nowhere.

So, you gotta be big…bigger than big. You have to be a phenom. And maybe you’re just a tiny little phenom, like not so big a phenom that we read about you in the tabloids at the supermarket – really? Are you the batchild? – but big enough to have your voice heard over the moaning, bad-writing multitudes mewling for attention. Because you’re a better writer than that.

Bears live in creepy caves that most often have a boatload of icky spiderwebs. While the world wide web has nothing to do with bears, although, of course you and I know that it does, it, too, hangs out on servers, which are like creepy, sort of icky boxes of hot metal and plastic. But I digress. Don’t let that keep you from climbing across the world wide web like a thousand-legged spider, because that’s how it really, really works: all of the silken webs tie together, and you can use ‘em to catch more than just flies.

When you write for a publisher, look for ways to get the same piece published at other sites. Start your own site. Start your own blog. Publish the same piece in as many places as you can think of. Spread everything you write just as far as your imagination can take you. Each piece you write then becomes a web, and you become the spider at the middle.

The robots that look for similarities across the web see you, yes, you. Your name rises in the search rankings. Eventually, and this is no joke, you become someone. Yours is not the mewling voice, not the blather of the multitudes. Yours is the voice of authority.

Are you famous? Well, somewhat.

Because yours is the voice that beat the biscuits out of the bear.

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Author: John Reinhart

Technical writer John Reinhart says his mission is to get his readers excited about the possibilities of and wonders of planetary science. A happily married father of three from Ventura, CA, he holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Cal State Chico, has taught college courses, and is working on his second novel.

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