Ask Phil: Addressing the elephant in the room

Dear Phil,

I have a rather embarrassing conundrum to pose. It’s about performing. You see, I recently started writing an advice column at my newspaper. My deadline for my second column is here and I haven’t received any submissions yet. What should I do? Do you know of any ways to influence people to respond?

Lonely at the Keyboard – From the Times Leader Media Group newsroom

Dear Lonely,

Hey man, we’ve all been there before.

Who hasn’t had performance issues? It’s happened to the best of us.

I can relate. I’m experiencing some myself.

I’ve wrestled with what the best solution for this is. Well … I can’t say I have the best answer, but it sure is an answer.

You could always write a column expressing your troubles. It’s never a good idea to keep your problems bottled up, because they could then boil over into other aspects of your life. And that’s never good.

If that doesn’t work, I do have some other ideas, but I can’t say they won’t cost you.

You could always attempt to get a plug on your local news or radio station and plead to the audience for submissions. But that might seem a little desperate. How desperate are you?

You could always advertise with your local newspaper. I bet even this publication might be able to hook you up. I know a guy.

If you’re strapped for cash, then you have to get creative.

Plan on going to bars this weekend? Just go up to strangers and ask them if they need any advice. You might get punched in the face, but if you manage to keep your teeth intact, then you never know. I feel like people are always more social at bars, so you might get some good questions.

On one of those dating apps like Tinder or Bumble? Scrap putting up a description of yourself or what your perfect date is and instead ask for people to write in submissions for your column. What could go wrong?

At the movies with your friends? Before the previews start, stand up and shout, “Are you looking for answers in life? My name is Phil and I write an advice column. I’m looking for submissions. Send them to the Weekender.”

Sorry, that last one was more for me. I think I’m gonna try it this weekend. For those of you going to see Black Panther for a sixth time, keep an eye out for me.

There’s also the good old-fashioned flier on all the telephone poles and in all the coffee shops around your neighborhood. It works for that big CD and record sale at The Woodlands around here. Why not for an advice column?

If all else fails, ask people to reach out on social media. Come up with a catchy hashtag … like #AskPhil. Yeah, that should work.

Tell people that if they’re a little unsure about emailing a total stranger with their life problems, just reach out to you on Twitter.

You can reach me on Twitter @wkdr using #AskPhil.

I hope this helps. And if you have any ideas, feel free to email them to me.

Send all Ask Phil inquires to askphil.tl@gmail.com with the subject line “Ask Phil.”

Ask Phil
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By DJ Eberle


Reach DJ Eberle at 570-991-6398 or askphil.tl@gmail.com or on Twitter @ByDJEberle.