In search of a music columnist and some people’s chutzpah (or lack thereof)

A not-so-funny joke in our editorial offices is that everyone thinks they can write. When you tell people you’re a writer, they almost inevitably respond with “Oh, I write too.” When someone tells me they’re a hairdresser, I don’t say, “Oh ya, I cut hair too,” just because I make a lame attempt every now and then to trim my bangs.

I don’t mind so much if everyone fancies himself a writer, but when I’m looking to fill a freelance position at the paper and I get responses from people who are “passionate about writing,” I feel the need to swallow a bottle of Tums, because most “real” writers loathe it. At least until a piece is done, at which point they are fulfilled. It’s like childbirth, the pain is quickly forgotten.

My latest ad for a LOCAL music columnist went on Craigslist a little more than a week ago and the responses have bordered on shameful. Based on the applicants I’ve encountered in the last six months for various freelance writing positions, I’m not surprised the unemployment rate is as high as it is.

I’ve learned to be very specific in my job postings: “NO Resumes.” “If you don’t have writing samples, you will NOT be considered,” etc.

Despite my best efforts to be clear, I continue to receive responses that consist of an attached resume, no writing sample and often a one-sentence “cover letter”.

Last week I posted an ad on Craigslist for a music columnist. It was detailed and written to weed out the poetry contest types. Good writers, writers with voice and depth and the ability to sift gold from a pan of grit, are a rare breed, especially in this market.My favorite thus far had no resume, no writing sample and read something like this:

“There’s a music scene in Ventura? Is that what the job is about?”


8 Comments to “In search of a music columnist and some people’s chutzpah (or lack thereof)”

  1. Hire me. What’s the pay? Can I write about the music I make in the bathtub, or does it have to be about Ventura?

    ….Thunderstorms on the horizon, Michelle. The cleansing rain is a-comin’.

    Keep on keeping strong, pretty lady.

  2. Can we make payment arrangements? A barter, perhaps? xox.

  3. The reason that kind of person applied is because we others, i.e. the good ones, have given up on Craiglists because no one ever acknowledged our applications.

  4. i think i fancy myself a rocker the same way they fancy themselves a writer.

  5. Hilarious Michel, where’s Bill Locey when you need him? : )

    • Right? AKA Solomon Bass. I still miss him shuffling into the office barefoot and grumbling under his breath about Rhett Miller, the civil war and his grievances with the “editor du jour.”

  6. I must admit, I have totally gone civil war reenacting with Locey…once, he’s a total original…and I’ve seen him barefoot a handful of times too…

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