Usually, one of the things that overflow everybody’s electronic mailbox (quite often the standard one too) is piles of polls, questionaries and other requests for your opinion — from politics and climate change to which garbage bags you use. You even get offers to be paid for one or all of these, for seemingly pitiful sums of money.
For most writers, as for anybody else, these are the nuisance they can’t seem to get rid of, more unnerving than a message of rejected manuscript/story/article. Who wants to waste time and effort on telling somebody about which shampoo you use most often when you get better things to do.
But what if you don’t have better things to do? What if you are still waiting for that publisher’s response or all ideas have gone down the drain or are not coming up at all, or when pitiful money is better than no money at all? Turn to polls and questionaries!
No, I’m not kidding. I did not have the time, I did have better things to do, but people that create the polls and questionaries are writers too since they are usually quite good at what they do, they manage to reach and intrigue anybody at any level of intelligence and education. So I decided to try my hand at answering as many of these in 30 days. On top of everything else, from writing to throwing away the garbage (with no polls in it).
Let's get the question of the money out of the way first. No, you can’t get rich out of it, but any money is exactly what it is — money. The second thing to always have in mind is that the people that composed those polls and research questions are marketers, with a specific goal of extracting the targeted information out of the polled audience.
Sometimes they are very open in the direction their questions are going, more often they circumvent and they lead you towards the information they really want from you. In a way, sometimes it is an open market, other times it is like that great fusion jazz band Weather Reports would say “Black Market”.
To do that they use practically the same techniques any writer would use in building their plot, story, even a set of characters. Usually, they try to keep you in ‘suspense’ who their lead character (the company which wants the information from you in the first place) is. To be able to get straight answers from you, to get the reaction they are aiming for from you as a ‘reader’, they really have to be good at it, and quite a few of them are.
As a writer, you can approach the whole process with this question — isn’t information, your thoughts, and opinions, the thing that you want to offer your readers after all? And secondly, isn’t researching other methods of building your plot and characters something that you need?
Not really the conventional writer’s way, but certainly useful. Oh, and after a month, I was able to cover a full supermarket shopping list.
To learn more about me, please check my LinkedIn page at www.linkedin.com/profile/preview?locale=en_US&trk=prof-0-sb-preview-primary-button.