Bitter Writer’s Strike

When I was a freshman in college, my first class, in my first semester at 7 am, was an English class. I remember it well for two reasons. The first, was that the teacher reminded me of a combination of George McFly from Back to The Future and Bern Gorman (the guy that would have been the penguin in a next sequel of Dark Knight Rises). He talked with a measured and methodical tone, almost like he talked like he wrote. Very precise, very clipped. No words he ever spoke were wasted. His brain had an internal edit button that crossed out every unnecessary word from his speech.

Looked like George McFly.

The second thing I remember is how important it was to get perfect attendance. If we made every class, we would get enough extra credit to increase our grade half a step (IE A- to an A). He knew two things about freshman. They were experts at skipping classes and they didn’t like to wake up early. He solved those two problems with perfect attendance challenge. If there is one thing I’m good at, it’s showing up every day. Challenge Accepted.

The problem for me with the attendance challenge was I adapted it to ALL my classes. Until I was in my last semester in college, I never missed a class. Then all of a sudden, the skipping class lightbulb turned on, and I became an expert level slougher that could have taught the class on sloughing to incoming freshman. I don’t work in Human Resources or Infrastructure Management right now, because I attended those classes a sum total of 4 times each the whole semester. The only management skill I learned in each of those classes was how to pass without going to class. I’m not sure how, but I’m thankful for multiple choice questions and good logical thinking skills.

Back to the English class. Did I get perfect attendance in that class? Yes I did. Did I get an A in the class? You betcha. Was it because of the extra credit? Nope. Didn’t need it. Was I any better of a writer after that class? Nope. I don’t think I learned anything about writing. My teacher probably thought I would go on to be a complete failure in any aspect of writing in my future. In fact, I hated writing almost as much as math back then.

You’re probably thinking “Hey, Bitter Ben, I have an obvious question for you now. Why do you love writing as much as you do now, to the point that you would write over 1300 blog posts, have a first draft of a fantasy novel, and three more ideas for books that you are dying to write right (see what I did there?) now?”

Bitter Ben, why do you like writing now?

That is a very good question, which I will answer with a story. When I was in the 7th grade, I played basketball for one reason. Because I was tall. I hated going to practice, hated all my teammates and wasn’t that good at basketball at all. I travelled and double dribbled all the time. I told my dad and my coach I wanted to quit. So they took me to Wendy’s and asked me why I wanted to quit. I told them all the reasons and they convinced me to come back, but it was my choice. I came back because I wanted to. When it became a choice for me, I started liking it. When I got cut from the team in my junior year, and started playing for a YMCA team, I wasn’t constrained by plays. I didn’t just have to be Shaq, camping out on the post. I could start being creative. When I could dribble, do behind the back passes, no-looks and shoot when I wanted to, I started loving it.

What does that story tell you about me? When I am forced into doing something, I hate it. When the shackles come off and I can create things MY way, then I love it, thrive in it, and my creativity soars. Thus, when I could write a story about anything I wanted to, or write on a blog when I wanted to, I started loving it.

My English teachers got it all wrong with me. They taught me the structures of writing. Research this. Annotate that. Noun goes here. Verb goes there. Don’t use adverbs very much. Use emdashes there. Affect is this one thing, Effect is this other thing. Grammar is important.

There were dad and basketball coach teaching me about plays. They were holding me in a prison of rules. My writing needed creativity to breathe. I might write in English, but that’s the only thing I’m thinking about when I write. AI can fix the grammar, and Grammarly, Google and spell check can check the spelling.

The depth of my imagination is the only thing that shackles me when I write here.

No Michael, a different kind of strike.

The Writer’s Guild of America writer’s feel shackled right now. On May 1st, they decided to strike because they want more money for stuff on streaming. No matter what happens here, my ability to write outside the box could create a huge windfall of money for me. There was a strike back in 2007-2008, which I remember well.

This is my chance to cause a huge disruption in writing business. Writing has been so bad in the last 3-4 years, that producers of shows can try something different.

For instance, they can take a chance on a non-union bitter blogger that can write as bad as their regular writer’s but for much cheaper.

Hallmark, and all the other romance channels have been dying to hire me, but they hesitate because I would be a step up in quality, logic, creativity and humor. Their fans wouldn’t know what to do with a quality romance that made sense. The actors and actresses wouldn’t know what to do with all the sarcasm and wit. They are so used to the charmlessness of the previous writers, that they don’t know how to humor. I would be such an infection into their network, I would be like Neo inside the Matrix. The fans and creators of the shows wouldn’t know what to do with me, and they would send Smith and a bunch of agents to destroy me. Just like the immune system attacks a cold, the producers and fans would attack my good movie right off the network.

Hallmark network to my creative, logical romantic comedy writing. “You’re a virus. A cancer.”

Regardless, I would suggest they film the terrified reactions and hyperventilated breathing of their fans before Hallmark put the oxygen mask of bland romances back on the station. They could keep the honest reaction footage and sell it to horror film makers who needed realistic reactions for their movies.

See how my value skyrockets during the Writer’s Strike?

If that weren’t enough, I could also help the late-night Jimmy’s, Colbert’s and Seth’s write jokes that were funny enough to keep their audiences awake. If that is their objective. Maybe they want their audiences to go to sleep, so they get better ratings, because the TV is still on. If I infect the show with humor, viewers might actually want to watch and stay awake. That might cause them to turn off the TV when the show is done because they don’t want to watch the infomercial that comes after the show.

If that doesn’t work, I can get money the old-fashioned way. By threatening to cross the picket line and write for the networks. If they don’t want me to increase the quality of the writing and keep their shows at status quo, they can pay me a hefty hush money fee and I will run to the bank as fast as I can and cash that check before they have a chance to cancel it.

My English teacher would be so proud.


Bitter Writer’s Strike Ben


11 thoughts on “Bitter Writer’s Strike

  1. Ben, I’m so glad you wrote about this writer’s strike. You said so much here that I’ve been thinking in my head, so now there’s no need to write a post about it. I stand with those writers!! But OMG, we in this blogging community have opportunities here that can’t be denied.


  2. Whoa, wait…you completed the 1st draft of a whole fantasy novel? Sweet!! 👏🏽 🎉 Now get back on that keyboard and start pounding out the pilot of the next The Office. HURRY, NOW’S YOUR CHANCE!!!


    • Yeah, a while ago. But it is so complicated and long that I haven’t even worked out the story out correctly. I definitely want to do an outline from what I wrote to make sure it makes sense. Just need time and pressure and I’ll make a diamond out of it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Happy to take a look at your synopsis and/or first chapter if you want some honest (possibly brutal) feedback.


        • That would be great if I had any second draft pages to give you. And I’m used to people being brutal, because then I get bitter about it. But when I’m ready to get brutal feedback, I’ll send them your way.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. My Lord, this is the perfect opportunity to use the Angry Writers and RECRUIT THEM into our Army : The Bitter Guild. It’s like the Legion of Doom, but with angry writers instead. And we can combine them with our hackers and spies, do spy on executives and hold them hostage. By getting the writers to make funny sitcoms about their embarrassing private lives instead, thus forcing them to BOW DOWN BEFORE YOU!!!!!!! Also, I loved your commentary about how your writing improved when you were free to do what you liked. Thank you for that.


  4. If you are going to be a scab, might as well be a bitter scab that just wants the cash. That might actually be the best thing for the writers on strike. Replacing them is a bitter pill to swallow.

    Liked by 1 person

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