— Elizabeth Barcelos (@lavender_ink) July 6, 2016
Tweeting my desperation will probably not land me a writing job. Desperation is a strong word anyway; let’s say that I’m highly motivated instead. While that tweet was fueled by the free beer I earned for knowing things faster than other people, in vino et cerevisiae veritas: there is truth in wine and beer. (Also, I’m proud of myself for barely remembering how to decline Latin nouns but also worried I did it wrong. Come at me, language nerds!)
I can’t figure out how to put that on a resume but I can write a blog post about it. So, here are the reasons why you should hire your friendly neighborhood trivia champion, based primarily on my experience at Trials Pub:
- (I drink and) I know things.
Being good at trivia doesn’t just make me a repository of random knowledge, though that definitely helps. “Write what you know” is a writing cliche because it’s true. That doesn’t just apply to creative writing, either. It’s important to be authoritative as a writer; your audience needs to believe that you know what you’re talking about. Being a sponge for supposedly trivia knowledge makes me just knowledgeable enough to sound believable about almost any topic.
- I can manage my time.
A deadline is a deadline. Time management is just as important in trivia as it is in writing. At Trials, the quiz is a list of twenty questions that have to be answered in twenty. Sounds like I should spend one minute per question, right?
Wrong. The first thing I do is I go down the list and knock out the questions I know, which never takes more than five minutes. That gives me about fifteen minutes to wrack my brain to try and remember the capital of Guinea-Bissau (it’s Bissau; the obvious-ish answers always get me), what position David Bowie singles peaked at on the charts, or the name of a Shakespeare play that I haven’t read but am vaguely aware of.
- I’m a team player.
Spoiler alert: I don’t win trivia night by myself. Just as much credit is due to my delightful boyfriend, James. The real secret to our success is that our areas of expertise are different enough that we make up for what the other lacks. Jim’s grasp of politics, music (though not pop; that’s all me!), science, and B-movies is stronger than mine. I go for the sports, literature, pop culture, and history questions.
However, we’re also just knowledgeable enough about the other’s interests that we can help each other out. He’s talked me out of answers that I’ve been convinced I’m right about and vice versa. Knowing when to listen to someone else and when to stick to your guns is key in any career. In writing, it’s the difference between being a pain in your editor’s ass and letting them take over your writing and your voice.
- I’m a problem solver.
I can guarantee that every night that I’ve won trivia, I’ve had to make at least one guess. Trials always has one Shakespeare question but my English degree doesn’t mean that I know them all by heart.
Last week, the Shakespeare question asked for the name of the play starring Helena and Bertram. I was stumped. But! There were context clues in the question that helped me guess. Having a male and female lead implied a comedy since Shakespearean comedies are all about chaos in the beginning that ends with order and matrimony. The names didn’t sound Italian (or, as I said at the time, “Those names are hella boring. It’s probably set in Britain.”), so it probably wasn’t set in Italy. All I had to do think of a play that I hadn’t read and probably wasn’t set in Italy, and I’d have a good guess. I chose Measure for Measure because I knew it was a comedy and it sounded British.
It turns out that I was wrong and the comedy I was looking for was All’s Well That Ends Well. However, my reasoning was sound. It’s not like I guessed something completely wrong like Richard III (one of the histories) or Timon of Athens (a tragedy). While in trivia answers are either right or wrong, in writing and the professional world, there’s a bit more leeway.
- I’m consistent and persistent.
Many trivia nights reward consistency. Trials doesn’t just crown a winner every night; at the end of four weeks, a monthly winner gets chosen as well. Winning thirty bar bucks is great (and we’ve done it a few times) but my eyes are on the big prize: the sixty bar bucks the winner of the month gets. You don’t have to win four weeks in a row. Being consistently on the podium can be enough to take the monthly prize.
Speaking of persistence, it’s back to the job hunt for me. Hit me up with your thoughts, job offers, and thrown gauntlets to challenge me at trivia in the comments or on Twitter @lavender_ink.