Feedback Friday :: Ups and Downs (The Eight Winds)

pitches/proposals :: 5
positive responses :: 2
definite hires :: 1
English lessons taught :: 4
hours of Dutch learning :: no more than 3, but I did discover duolingo, which is by far the best language learning application I’ve used. I’ve only spent a couple of hours on there, but I loved it. It manages to introduce very subtle video game elements into spaced repetition learning, whilst mixing up the skills pretty consistently and keeping things proper zingy. I’m very excited by it. I’m doing a lot of learning at the moment and I feel it’s doing me a lot of good.
books being read :: 2 (The How of Happiness, Amsterdam)
physical exercise :: hardly any. It seems I’m choosing not to make the time at the moment. It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve made any real effort and my back is beginning to complain again. It must be time to pull my finger out. May have to invest in proper trainers.
metaphysical exercise :: one micro-session. I fell into late nights this week and consequently a few early morning rituals were written off. I pretend to blame the corrupting influence of a houseguest from the north, for making me stay up late and intoxicate myself, but in truth, one of the things I most enjoy about this level of freedom in my life is that I can dip out of a routine when extraneous occurrences call for flexibility. I still got a lot of work done this week. And I made solid progress.
routine adhesion :: 39%
week 13/52 overall rating :: 9/10. Splendid. I am full of beans and off to an exceptionally great start.

Screenshot 2016-04-08 11.52.28

The pictures help.

This week started off really well. I applied for a job for which I was apparently unqualified with an audacious pitch that began like this:

My last girlfriend used [your skincare product] every day and totally swore by it. I must admit, until then, I was pretty sceptical about the whole idea of skincare. I just didn’t think it worked. In fact, when we first started going out together, her devotion to [your skincare product] was so absolute that I used to laugh at her and call her a fool.

‘It’s all in your mind,’ I would say. And she’d take my hand and rest it against her cheek. ‘What about that?’ she’d say. ‘Is that all in my mind?’ At which point I’d catch my breath and my knees would wobble. She did have the softest, most kissable skin I’ve ever known.

I miss her.

The job was to write blog posts for a cosmetics company. The job offer began like so: ‘I’m looking for someone who’s exceptionally great at writing. Someone who has a quirky, funny and friendly tone.’

Immediately I thought yes! That’s me! I’m exceptionally great at writing. Everyone’s always saying exactly those words to me. ‘Cor,’ they begin, ‘you’re exceptionally great at writing. Oh, and have I mentioned your tone?’ So I sent in my pitch, regardless of the fact that I didn’t have the requisite 100 hours work on Upwork. A day later, I received this reply:

I nearly passed over you until you got me with that intro – I think you’ll make a good fit 🙂

I’d love to give you a shot with a few articles. Are you available to start right away?

As, dear reader, you can imagine, I was cockahoop.


I was thinking, But this freelance writing lark is going to be easy. All I have to do is flash a little verbal audacity at them, show them how exceptionally great I am at writing and Bob’s your mum’s very best friend. You have his chin. 

Then the skincare guy asked me what I’d done before and I sent him a link to this page, which has a fairly succinct summary of most of the various things I’ve done.

Then he went quiet. Eerily quiet. Even for a weekend on the other side of the world. 

Then I was accepted for another job which seemed fairly simple so I did that over the weekend and submitted it.

Then it turned out that that job, the one that had seemed so very fairly simple, was not so fairly simple after all, and I had got the wrong end of the stick. The icky end. So basically I had to do most of it again. It was my own silly fault of course for not clarifying exactly what I was meant to do before doing it.


By which time I’d realised for sure that the skincare man had looked at my stuff and reconsidered. Ultimately, clearly, he had not much liked the cut of my jib. My beautiful, some would say exceptionally great jib.

Then the guy for whom I’d done the other job went deathly quiet too.

It was like I had a hex on me. 

Then I got my application to teach on iTalki turned down.

Added to which, each of the students I have in real life independently cancelled some lessons we had arranged.

Suddenly I was no longer cockahoop.

I was no longer up at all.

I was down.


But I took succour from what I remembered of the teachings of Nichiren Daishonin. To wit:

A truly wise man will not be carried away by any of the eight winds: prosperity, decline, disgrace, honour, praise, censure, suffering and pleasure. He is neither elated by prosperity nor grieved by decline. 

Or in other words, be cool. 

And I was. I got on with it. 

And then, just as surely as night follows day and great follows exceptionally, things began to turn.

The guy from the second job got back to me, we communicated and clarified and I did the job for him and he was happy.

I reposted my video to iTalki with my contact details taken out of the final frame – which was the reason I’d been rejected and in retrospect, I was a fool to put them on there – of course they’re not going to want me to potentially take business away from their platform to my own site. Duh. Then, rather than make me wait the ten-day processing period again, they immediately accepted my reapplication. iTalki is go. 

Then the person who’d been disrupting my routine with her corrupting influence – let’s call her Melinoë – Mel will do – offered me the opportunity to kick off my copywriting career in earnest. A friend of Mel’s had done a little work for a guy and he’d asked her to do a little more. Mel’s friend was busy, so asked Mel. Mel asked me. I said yes and yesterday wrote five short articles I didn’t really have to think about it too hard and now suddenly I’m an SEO expert. I jest of course, but I learned a lot. And rather enjoyed it. Which I wasn’t expecting. With more work to come. So that’s good. Thanks, Mel.

Plus, another guy who wants regular blog posts with a bit of the pizzazz that only really comes from exceptionally great writing is interested in working with me. Nothing’s been settled yet, but we’re both keen, which is a good start.

And once again, smarming in my cups of cock and hoop, I am reminded of the warning of the daishonin. If thou be wise, be thou not carried away. Neither by shame nor by self-satisfaction.

Be cool. 

It’s just life. Sometimes things go well. Sometimes it feels like someone is hurling invisible shit at you.


Make it work.

Here’s to a splendid weekend.

What are you up to? Anything nice?




About the Author

I am Karl Webster. I wrote these words. If you liked them, you’ll be overjoyed to know that there are plenty more where they came from. So you should definitely sign up to my newsletter if you haven’t already.

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