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Practice business the Twilight Way.

Edward and BellaTrust me when I say that this post is not for teenagers or tweens, it’s for everyone. And, it’s actually about writing, freelancing and my other usual topics. I promise. It really does have a point.

Until this weekend, I’d avoided all the Twilight hype. Robert Pattinson didn’t do anything for me and I don’t really like vampires and scary things – so I just maintained a polite distance. But, let’s be serious, it’s a little hard to escape it when you live online (and have a teeny tiny addiction to celebrity gossip. As I’ve said before, I don’t drink, smoke, drug or eat white sugar – give me just this one thing!)

My in-laws and my millions of nieces were here this weekend. (There are 13 of them). And, I just so happened to walk by one of their makeshift beds on Saturday morning and there was Twilight, just sitting there. I thought, I’ll just read the first couple of pages, see what this is all about.

Swear to god, it was like falling down the proverbial rabbit hole. I couldn’t stop reading. I had no sense of anything going on around me. I just read. My sister-in-law was sitting next to me studying (grad school) and then suddenly she was getting in the shower, and I asked her when she got up  and why she was all sweaty; she said, “About two hours ago – I went for a run and down to the pond.” I had no idea, but she totally got it because she read all four books in one weekend, in Florida, with her boyfriend, who she wouldn’t talk to because he wasn’t Edward or in the book (the vampire, the god of Twilight, for those of you who are still abstaining). Apparently that story is not a rare one.

Long story short. I read the first book of 500+ pages in about 7 hours. Woke up the next morning, went to buy the second book and read that one in about the same amount of time. Down the the rabbit hole, like I said. I have a company to run, clients to write for and a family to love…so I’ll wait to get the 3rd and 4th book until next weekend. As I read voraciously, I was asked by a bewildered adult if it was like Harry Potter. “No,” I replied. “It’s like 90210 with vampires.”

So, why, oh, why did this happen to me? I’m a smart, mature, 36 year old woman! The writing is good, but it’s not the best thing I’ve ever set my eyes on. It’s meant for adolescents, after all and that’s obvious. So, WHY?

When I made mention of my guilty pleasure on Twitter, many (and by many, I mean a lot) of women and a few men readily joined in my excitement. And, then, someone simply tweeted, ‘You are not alone’ with a link to a blog post by Erin Gates called, Pop Culture Digression: The Twilight Phenomenon Explained that just laid it out, all crystal clear like. (And her blog normally has nothing to do with this foolishness either, which I loved, of course because it made me feel like less of a loser.) Erin wrote this:

“Edward causes such a stir because his character is the perfect man. He’s handsome, wealthy, romantic and devoted. The mysterious, brooding bad boy who writes lullabies on the piano for his girlfriend but also rips out the throats of bad guys in defense of her honor. He says things like “You’re my own personal brand of heroin” and “I don’t think I have the strength to stay away from you any longer” (cue knee buckling). He is the perfectly impossible combination of poet, athlete, intellectual and bad ass- the human(ish) equivalent of a unicorn…Every woman wants to feel coveted, craved, defended and protected and well, that’s just what we get from reading about this fictitious character who was crafted to feed that desire (because let’s face it, we don’t always get that from our real life men.)

But, the thing is that this isn’t just about women being unsatisfied by their men, or every woman wanting to be ‘coveted, craved, defended and protected’ – this is about every person wanting to be ‘coveted, craved, defended and protected’. Whether you’re in a romantic, familial, educational, professional, client/freelancer, parent/child relationship – it doesn’t matter. We all want to be those things. And, if you read the books or have a heartbeat (um, or not, in Edward’s vampire-case) you’ll realize that the one ‘giving it out’ also gets quite a lot from the deal.

I’m ghostwriting a book for a client right now – and it’s about using client relations as a main factor to building a successful career (in a very different kind of industry from mine) – his main point is that if you make your clients feel outstanding, if you build the relationship genuinely – it will feel good to both sides, and most importantly, it will stick.

Everyone wants to be loved. The client and the writer. The boyfriend and the girlfriend. The guy at the desk at your printer and you as you drop off your order. It’s completely basic, elemental. We are addicted to the books because we get to live that kind of love vicariously.

Erin Gates also wrote this: (after she compared Twilight for the 18+ female crowd to Internet porn for the entire male crowd)

“It’s an escapist fantasy that allows you forget all the bull going on in your life and just enjoy the pleasure of a hot, undead teenager who would kill people for you and then buy you a brand new Audi for your birthday.”

We want the love, but we also just want to feel like everything’s okay and hopeful and safe for awhile. We want our attention taken to a good place.

I’m not suggesting that you tell your client, or the kid at the drive thru window for that matter, that “You’re my own personal brand of heroin” – you can’t be Edward and Bella in real life. Seriously, don’t. You’ll get arrested.

But I am suggesting that you experiment by taking it down several notches. What if you treat your clients like they’re truly special, with total respect, letting them understand that their business is safe with you, that you always have their best interests at heart. What if you really hold their attention with the work that you do and the person that you are.

Would they become addicted to your work and to working with you? Would it bring them so much joy and good feeling that they would be clients for life?

I don’t think that acting this way could create Twilight hysteria around you and your business, but who am I to say? But, even if it doesn’t take you that far, I can’t imagine how it won’t lift you a bit higher on the food chain.

Image credit: Angie22Arts

Join the discussion 11 Comments

  • Lea says:

    Oh, for crying out loud! I’m howling over here at your description of how you finally took the Twilight plunge. HYSTERICAL. And, if you must know, very much like it happened to me recently!

    A friend of mine sent me the 1st book while I was packing up to move cross-country… she figured I could use a break. And while a 7-hour break is not exactly what I had in mind, that is what I got. Couldn’t. Put. It. Down. So then I slunk into the bookstore the next day with my tail between my legs, and had to ask where to find New Moon. I’m now holding myself back from the last ones… the kids need to be fed!

    And oh yeah, the copywriting part. Brilliant use of an embarrassing personal journey for the sake of inspiring your readers! Well done.

  • Jenn says:

    This post is so true. I was scared off for several months from reading these books because I had heard that they were completely addictive.

    I finally broke down two weeks ago and borrowed the book and the movie from my niece (who has only watched the movie and hasn’t read the book yet).

    OMG, they weren’t kidding. I started reading it on Thursday after dropping my boys at Vacation Bible School (VBS) and I usually use that time to work, but I read instead. I couldn’t put it down. I was even late picking up my kids from VBS because I couldn’t stop reading the book. I read when we got home, only breaking to feed the boys and my husband. As soon as they were in bed, I was able to complete the book. (Was up until 2am to finish.)

    I put in requests at my library for the other 3, but I knew it would be a while until they were available (I was #35 – 48 in line for the requests…)

    So on Friday I reread the first book as I had liked it so much. :-) On Sunday we were out doing some shopping and I happened to be in Marshal’s clothes shopping, was browsing some of their book collection, and as you may know, their book selection is very random. No Twilight books there in the book sections… L-( However, when I went to the checkout line, there standing out front and center on the impulse book shelf was New Moon (2nd book). In paperback no less, for only 6.99! It was truly meant to be! :-D (jumping up and down inside!)

    I ended up reading the whole thing that day/night staying up again until 2am to finish it. :-)

    While waiting for the last two books to come in – on Wednesday, I went online to the author’s web site and found that there was a pre-release clip of the novel, Midnight Sun – Twilight from Edwards perspective. Read that to hold me over for a bit. (Excellent story, can’t wait until it is completed and released.)

    The others I ended up finding by chance at a little library right down the street from me (only open 3x week for 2 hr at a shot, and I happened to check their book catalog online earlier in the day, noticed that they had both the last two books I needed and they were open that very afternoon.) Needless to say, I drove my boys and I down there that afternoon to pick them up. :-)

    Got my friend hooked on them too and she has now been cursed with getting nothing done until she finishes the series. (She should be done by tonight!)

  • i read the first three in just a few days and then took a break of a month or so before i plunged into the last one (which turned out to be the best one).

    i felt like i needed the break after i got irritated that my husband wouldn’t act like he wanted to kill me.

    love the post, and only disagree on the “robert pattinson didn’t do anything for me” part. :)

  • Andi says:

    You have no idea how much I needed this post right now. I had been watching my other nearly 40-year old friends go gaga for months over Twilight, quietly sitting in my corner as well until I picked the first book and got sucked down the same rabbit hole. I waited months after the movie came out on DVD to watch it. I had no intention of ruining the book by watching the film. Then I was really, really sick a while back and was just vegging out in bed, so I said what the heck. I watched it 3 times in 2 days. This past weekend I was feeling under the weather and watched it twice. I had given away the books when I finished them, but just re-bought them all in English (and in French) because I have decided I am going to read them again! But I have been “talking” to myself for the last 24 hours trying to figure out why a perfectly normal 39 year old is acting like this! Thanks for making feel I was not alien, I am going right over to read Erin’s article right now!

  • Julie Roads says:

    Ha! I just woke up to your incredible comments. See, I’m not the only freak! I actually watched the movie last night. It doesn’t even compare to the books. Although they cast Bella and Edward very well – but, of course, I knew that and had already imagined their faces as I was reading.

    But my biggest disappointment was that Stephanie Meyers spent over 300 pages bringing Bella and Edward together, falling them in love. It was excruciatingly real, palpable. A truly cathartic experience. But in the movie? zip, bam, boom. You couldn’t even tell that Bella was combusting every time he looked at her – major disappointment. I blame the script, Hollywood and not the best acting I’ve ever seen.

    Still, people that have only seen the movie are missing 99% of the pie here. I feel so sorry for them. I’m not sure if I’ll make it to Friday to start reading Eclipse. But, I’m going to try.

    Thank you all for being insane with me!

  • Andi says:

    I totally agree about the movie, it is one of the reasons I rarely see a movie of a book I really like, but in this case, I did break and watch it (and have watched it several times!). My new copy of Twilight arrives tomorrow and I will be hard-pressed to wait until the weekend – which I really should since I am busy at my day job, re-launching my biz website and have a whole bunch of blog posts to get “on paper!” Aagh!

  • Shauna says:

    You really do have serious issues!

  • Julie Roads says:

    Shauna – would you like me to start telling everyone about your issues? Anyway, our ‘issues’ are clearly what make us so special.

  • I stumbled across your blog from an invite from the Community Bank … and caught this Twilight post.

    I literally finished the 3rd book last night at 9:30pm and IMMEDIATELY reached over to grab the 4th book. I have never been so addicted in my life. (much to my husbands consternation)

    Loved it and just shared it with some other addicts…er…I mean, friends.

  • Julie Roads says:

    Hi Lynn! I hope I’ll get to meet you on the 15th! If we can get enough of us there…maybe we can just turn it into a Twilight party!

    It is an addiction. And, as avid a reader as I am, I’ve never in my life read a book over and over like this – and here I am reading the whole saga for the 3rd time as we speak.

    I’m fascinated by the whole thing (Meyer’s success, our reactions to this thing, the story itself) – but especially my rabid addiction.

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