Saturday, February 14, 2015

Ghostwriting and Bacon...

Here is a random, light-hearted blog about bacon. "Why bacon?" you may ask. Well, I have long wanted to be a "real" writer, and I have somehow bought into this notion that you can't call yourself a writer unless you have actually published and been paid for your work. Which is completely stupid...yet, there it is.

So, recently, I heard about this interesting website called BlogMutt. The process for writing for them is pretty simple, so I signed up and am giving it a try. In my first week, I submitted two blogs (you are basically a ghostwriter for BlogMutt's clients, who will pay you for blogs you write that they post on their own websites.).

One of them was immediately viewed and put in the queue. Then, on February 12, 2015, it was posted. "Poof," I am a writer--published and paid, albeit only eight bucks and for a piece that will never be attributed to me. But still, it feels pretty cool.

The other piece I submitted was viewed and then sat in the queue to be posted for several days, but it was then "withdrawn" and assigned a symbol indicating I could recycle it if I wanted to. I discovered that in the case of this submission, the client I wrote for is no longer using BlogMutt's services and so is no longer buying this sort of blog post.

This turns out to be a good thing because from the moment I submitted this particular piece, it didn't feel right. It was my very first effort, and I had not fully comprehended that I was ghostwriting for a client. I made the rookie mistake of submitting a first person blog, which really doesn't work too well in the BlogMutt forum. A helpful BlogMutt admin gave me some great constructive feedback, and I edited the submission to include this opening line, "We received this fun note from a customer and wanted to share the words of wisdom...enjoy!"  But it still felt wrong.

So, now that it has been "withdrawn," it's mine again, and I'm publishing it now on my own blog, where it actually belonged all along.  Enjoy!

(Oh, and I'm still on the fence about how far to go with this BlogMutt thing, but they have a neat business model, and thinking about ideas for BlogMutt clients has had the bonus effect of stimulating my thinking and ideas generally--I've been motivated to write more in the last two weeks than any time in recent memory. How cool is that? And I will always credit BlogMutt for making me feel like the real writer I have always wanted to be. Applying for acceptance as a BlogMutt writer--$0; amount paid for first BlogMutt blog post--$8; finally feeling like a real writer--priceless.) 

Confession: I like bacon just fine, but I am not a bacon fanatic. I did, however, marry a bacon lover, and over the last 15 plus years, we have produced and are raising three bacon-inhaling boys. It's fair to say, I've made a lot of bacon, and I've gotten good at it.

The secret to perfect bacon is micromanagement:

First, know your audience. My family loves their bacon crispy. Though I once had to make bacon at a camp-out for an entire scout pack, where some liked it crispy and others were of the "just-kill-the-salmonella-then-feed-it-to-me" variety. Either way, micromanagement is the key.

For a good bacon outcome (as opposed to half-raw-half-burned, or some unrecognizable strip permanently adhered to your frying pan), you must micromanage your bacon. I fully recognize this approach doesn't work well in other aspects of your life, but in the world of bacon-making, it's the only way.

Next, lay your bacon out in an orderly fashion (though I must admit, on that scout camp-out, I was able to successfully micromanage three pans of very haphazard bacon, resulting in a variety of outcomes from crisp to underdone, which made all my bacon-eaters happy; but I am extremely experienced and would not recommend this to the inexperienced, albeit enthusiastic and possibly lucky, beginner).

Then...and this is the trick...TURN YOUR BACON OFTEN! This will prevent early sticking, as well as uneven cooking patterns. And by "often," I do mean, "OFTEN"! Seriously, the pan you use (though I prefer a large, non-stick dealio) and your choice of turning implement (though I prefer a long fork as opposed to a spatula or other special what-have-you), aren't that important, so long as the bacon is your focus and you are turning often--according to the bacon's needs, not your own.

Finally, manage your heat. Yes, of course, you want a medium-high heat, but pay attention and adjust according to the needs of your particular bacon. Thick cut is particularly finicky, but SO worth it.

This technique works well for all bacon, but you cannot turn your back, not even for a minute. You must not get distracted by bacon conversation, or posting bacon photos, or dancing to whatever bacon-making tunes you may be jamming out to. 

The bacon is your focus. You cannot turn it too many times, and if you are paying attention, you can transfer it from pan to plate at precisely the perfect point.

Go forth and micromanage your bacon. The bacon-eaters in your life will thank you.

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