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Category Archives: Publishing

FameLike most kids, I dreamed about being famous.

Unlike most kids, my dream has come true. (Neener-Neener-Neener! to all you other losers.)

Okay, so maybe my rise to fame wasn’t exactly what I imagined. I’m not playing in the NBA; I didn’t even play Division I basketball. I haven’t written a book (yet!). I haven’t saved any babies from burning buildings, or saved a lady in distress (yet!). So, I’m sure you’re wondering, Why exactly do you think you’re famous? And I’ll tell you:

I’ve been googled.

Yeah, it’s true. Now now, please don’t be too jealous. Someday someone somewhere could google you. (Or at least, you can keep telling yourself that…)

How do I know I’ve been googled? Well, when I was the editor for Christianity Today’s FaithVisuals, I set up Google Alerts to notify me when someone wrote something about FaithVisuals and/or Tyler Charles.

I no longer work there, and I really should cancel the alert for FaithVisuals (but unfortunately the alerts aren’t quite annoying enough to overpower my laziness, and thus, I haven’t). But I like that Google still detects when a new “Tyler Charles” reference surfaces online. Sometimes it has informed me that one of my newest articles has just gone live. But most of the time it just alerts me to the newest blog post written by some other Tyler Charles—in which he refers to himself as “The Dude” and waxes philosophical about the latest fly-fishing something or other yada yada yada…

Today, Google alerted me that my name was appearing somewhere new:

http://churchleadergazette.com/clg/2009/10/deciphering-data-storage-by-ty.html (You see how famous I am!?! My name—or at least the first two letters of my first name—even appear in the URL!)

This article first appeared in Your Church, and that’s where this site found it (they even cited the source, which is rare in the Internet world). But the weird thing, the thing that baffled me, was that this site, The Church Leader Gazette, included a picture of me—a picture that is in no way connected to the Your Church article.

So at first I thought, maybe this was done by somebody at The Church Leader Gazette who happens to know me. But that didn’t seem right. So, I wondered, How did they pair my article with my picture?

And then it hit me: I had just been googled!

So I googled myself (admit it, you’ve done it before!). Sure enough, there I was. (Nevermind that the first search result was a facebook page for a Tyler Charles from Fremont, Ohio. And nevermind that the second result was for a “Tyler Charles Untrauer,” who is in the Air Force Academy, and who keeps the rest of his facebook information private.) But at number three on the google results was a link to my old blog, Tyler’s Thoughts. And if you click on that old blog of mine, you’ll see a picture of me in the upper left-hand corner…which just so happens to be the picture that appears on The Church Leader Gazette.

So I can draw only one conclusion: They googled me. Which also means, to put it as humbly as possible, I’m a freakin’ rockstar.

Which is bad news for those ladies in distress, and all those babies in burning buildings, because if I hear them crying for help I’ll probably just shrug my shoulders and keep walking. After all, I’m already famous; what use do I have for them now?

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Matthew Paul Turner and NavPress are giving away 200 copies of What You Didn’t Learn from Your Parents About: Sex.

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On his blog, Jesus Needs New PR, Matthew Paul Turner has dubbed this week “Sex Week.”

With the help of various contributors, he’s tackling some of the toughest questions regarding sex.

Today, he posted my submission, “The Truth about Santa Claus and Sex.” (I love the Santa pic he included with the post. Very fitting.)

I’m glad I had the opportunity to contribute, but even though I’m passionate about honesty, it’s still embarrassing to admit to the things I included in that post. Healthy. Important. But embarrassing.

Check it out, if you want. And you can post your comments here or there. Either way.

unemployment_sign3To some, the title of this post seems like nonsense. They think “Well, of course losing your job is a bad idea!”

But what about young people, huh? You know how impressionable young’uns are. As the unemployment rate rises, they will soon start saying, “Well, everybody else is doing it,” and they will inevitably want to give it a try. (I believe this is called “experimentation”).

Unfortunately, I feel I have propagated this wayward notion with recent blog posts (“A Day in the Glamorous Life of a Freelance Writer“) and tweets (“Watching Finding Forrester while I work…”), and I want to set the record straight.

In short, I fear I have given kids the impression that losing one’s job is appealing.

I will admit, losing one’s job does have its perks:

  • freedom to totally disregard personal hygiene
  • ability to spend all day in one’s pajamas (I don’t actually own pajamas, but if I did, I definitely could wear them all day)
  • opportunity to watch movies or 8 hours of Sportscenter every day
  • freedom to shop for groceries during non-peak shopping hours (what kid doesn’t long for this opportunity?)
  • unlimited napping potential
  • And so even as I write that, I’m tempted to think, “Hmmm, I guess it is a pretty good gig.”

    But no, kids. Don’t be fooled.

    Everybody loves summer vacation, right? But you know how you start to get bored in August (like right now), and you actually start wanting to go back to school? When you start feeling like you should be doing something worthwhile with your life? Well, unemployment feels like that every day. Except, for the unemployed, school isn’t necessarily going to start again in the fall.

    And even worse, as an adult, we have something called “bills” (an ugly, ugly thing). In other words, spending all day on the couch today could mean I won’t have a couch tomorrow…

    Since losing my job, I’ve been busy working on freelance projects and a few side jobs. And those have been great.

    But here’s the catch: When working as a freelancer, one only gets paid for the work they produce.

    In other words, one only gets paid for their actual work. Seems pretty fair, I suppose, but it’s not how things work when you have an office job.

    And this is the number one reason why losing your job is a bad idea.

    When I was a full-time employee, I could check my email (and get paid while doing it). I could walk to the coffee station, get coffee, bump into colleagues, spend 10-15 minutes talking about politics, Mark Driscoll, Harry Potter, global warming, or the likelihood that this is the year the Cubs win the World Series. And yeah, get paid the whole time.

    Now, not only do I have to take the time to make my own coffee, but I certainly won’t bump into any colleagues in my kitchen. Which means there will be no riveting conversation, and even if my colleagues did show up in my kitchen (that would be scary) and we talked for hours, I wouldn’t be compensated for a minute of it.

    When you work at home, nobody shows up with a dozen donuts from Dominick’s. Nobody offers you Tootsie Roll pops from their stash under their desk. When you work from home, the only food you find is the food you personally lugged up three flights of stairs after grocery shopping (in those non-peak hours).

    When you work in an office, food has a way of appearing. Someone’s wife makes too many cookies, and Surprise! The next day there’s a platter of goodies sitting an arm’s length away from your desk. The only things an arm’s length away from my desk right now are yesterday’s clothes, which I dumped on my desk chair last night before bed and promptly deposited on the floor this morning.

    And this is the real kicker:

    When you have a full-time job, you get paid to go to the bathroom. Let that sink in for a bit. I mean, that should be every little kid’s dream: to land a job that pays somebody to go to the bathroom. Trust me, it’s a good gig. It doesn’t even matter what your salary or hourly rate might be; if you’re getting paid to relieve yourself, you should be smiling. (Maybe not while you’re relieving yourself, but, you know, just in general.)

    So, kids, I encourage you to find a job that makes you happy. And even though I might claim my life as a freelancer is glamorous, when I go to the bathroom, I do it as an unemployed man. And I don’t smile.

    Remember that.

    8:00 – Stumble out of bed; brush teeth (optional); kiss wife goodbye
    8:01 – Take narcolepsy meds; shower (optional)
    8:10 – Make coffee
    8:15 – Read Bible; watch Sportscenter…sometimes at the same time (on mute, though…so it’s all good)
    8:53 – Review various “To-Do” lists; cross off items, add items, scoff at items that have spent months on lists and have no hope of ever being crossed off
    8:55 – Open Word document or revisit one of the documents still open from the previous night
    8:57 – Check Gmail…Twitter…Facebook…Twitter…Facebook…Gmail…Facebook
    10:17 – Return to Word doc; re-read stuff written yesterday
    10:20 – Realize the writing is crap; wonder about the illiterate monkey that must have commandeered keyboard during the night
    10:25 – Search the apartment for said illiterate monkey
    10:30 – Unable to locate monkey; find another mug of coffee and return to computer
    10:40 – Send emails—most of which are somewhat work-related; think “I should write a blog today…”
    11:00 – Read “tweets” and Facebook updates
    12:00 – Do real work
    1:00 – Scour the fridge for leftovers…
    1:30 – Check Gmail; long for the days when the Inbox was overflowing with important emails
    2:00 – Go for a run
    2:30 – Return from run; shower (still optional)
    2:40 – Hope for new and exciting emails; check Gmail; hang head in dismay
    2:42 – “Tweet”
    2:45 – Wonder whether “tweet” needs quotes around it
    2:50 – Resort to actual work
    4:00 – Take a break; play an online game or two (or eleven)
    5:00 – Wife comes home; quickly close tab with online game (or mute game); open Word doc to give the illusion of a day filled with laborious and stressful writing/editing
    5:15-11:00 – Talk to wife; watch TV; eat—all while working on Word docs and sending work-related emails and basically doing all the things that should have been done earlier in the day
    11:00 – Check Twitter, Facebook, and Gmail
    11:55 – Revise “To-Do” list for the next day
    12:00 – Read in bed
    1:00-ish – Fall asleep vowing that tomorrow will be a more productive day…