The Art of Bullshit

Or, ‘Yes, I Have Experience in that Niche’

Jake Keane
Oct 26, 2018 · 4 min read

If the image above didn’t already give it away, this is one of those articles. You know what I’m talking about, you know exactly what I’m talking about. This is the type of article that relies on your unabashed love of pop-culture from the ‘90s and weak metaphors as a way of convincing you whatever point I’m trying to make is valid.

“Ah, yes. What wanky comparison will this hack writer use to make his point? Perhaps something about how a ‘sales funnel’ relates to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air?”

What point are you trying to make then?

Whatever industry you’re in, I guarantee you’ve bullshitted before. Maybe you refer to it as a ‘fake it before you make it’ attitude, or just prefer to think you’re ‘stretching the truth.’ Either way you look at it, you’re bullshitting.

I bullshit constantly, and I know for a fact that a large percentage of writers do – daily. I’ve lost count of the amount of clients I’ve fed bullshit to about my abilities or knowledge. Clients I’ve either really wanted to work with, or just really needed the cash from.

A huge chunk of you out there are probably nodding your head but are too proud to admit it out loud, and that’s fair enough. I know, you know – that’s all that matters.

What you might not realise is how often clients will bullshit you. I mean, seriously, think about how often you’ve heard something like this:

“If we can do this work without the contract… The budget doesn’t cover that… Trust us… We can’t justify the expense… It’ll only take a few minutes… We’ll love whatever you come up with… We’ve decided to take the project in a different direction…”

That’s a tiny, minuscule amount of the bullshit clients will try and feed you. If you want to take the cynical view (which I do), most of what comes out their mouths will be buzzwords, half-truths, and acronyms that their boss has fed them.

The lesson here - don’t feel bad about faking it. I’ve been told by many of my female friends that it’s more common than you think.

What do you bullshit about and why?

Well, since you’re asking – I mostly bend the truth regarding which niches I’ve previously worked in. I’ve done it with about half of the clients I’ve ever had…

I constantly see writers talking about how you have to find your niche and become a living god in it. You simply must focus in on one particular industry alone, or else risk perishing. I really don’t agree.

I’m confident in my abilities to thoroughly research a topic and deliver work that’s good. I know that I can do that, I trust in myself to not be a dick.

Part of why I write is because I enjoy writing about different subjects and working in a variety of niches. If a client asks what my experience level in a particular topic is – and I really want the work – then I’m going to bullshit about it. I’m going to bullshit hard.

See, the thing is, next time I don’t have to bullshit to another client in that particular niche. I actually know what I’m talking about now. Pretty cool, right? It’s like those memes you see about needing job experience to get a job, but needing the job to get job experience.

Don’t feel bad about it.

So what’s with the Joey image up top?

Oh yeah, I nearly forgot. In the episode of Friends titled ‘The One Where Joey Speaks French’ (which actually came out in 2004, but I’m still going to class as pop-culture from the ‘90s), Joey is shown to have ‘exaggerated’ his talents on his resume. Considerably.

He knows what I’m talking about.

He gets the process.

That’s pretty much it, I won’t beat you over the head with the comparison… Ah, who am I kidding? Let’s flog this dead horse.

I cant remember the exact wordage (or rather, I do remember it extremely vividly, but for the sake of humour I’d rather pretend I don’t). I think it went a little something like this:

[Scene: Fade in on Joey and Rachel’s apartment. Phoebe, Rachel, and Joey are reviewing Joey’s resume. Ross enters.]

Ross: [In a drawling, guttural sigh] Hi, guys.

Joey: Hey, how is it that are you doing, my F.R.I.E.N.D?

[Audience laugh]

Phoebe: Joey, you cannot do this [Points at resume]. I will not allow it. This is extremely bad. Bad boy!

Rachel: [Blows hair out of face] Huh?

Joey: Shhhhh. It’s cool, dude.

Phoebe: This thing says you can ride horses, drink milk at an alarming rate, speak French, write detailed articles about cryptocurrency trading, and create exceptionally well-performing Facebook adverts?

Joey: [Shrugs] Everybody bullshits, Phoebe.

Ross: [Leaves room] Bye, guys.

[Audience laugh]

See? It’s pretty much the same thing.

Look, I shoehorned something popular into an article. Everyone does it, give me a break. I basically made that image up top, thought it was funny, and needed an excuse to post it.

What shitty comparison articles did you reject before settling on this one?

  • Clarissa Explains It All: Client acquisition and retention
  • How can Ren & Stimpy teach us a lesson about upping our rates?
  • Did Seinfeld reveal the secret to the perfect freelance contract?
  • Why is Rocko’s Modern Life the ultimate metaphor for 9–5 life?

You know what? Fuck it, I’m not ruling any of those out as future articles. #HackWriterLife.

Jake can be followed on Twitter here. Or not. Either way.

Jake Keane

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Hire me to write words for you. Don’t get too offended by all this. I just use Medium to vent.

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