Hope this thing's not sitting in your vending machine all weekend.

H. B. Reese did it first when he mixed his chocolate with somebody else’s peanut butter. Or vice versa. But now Taco Bell has truly raised the bar for us all.

Clearly one of Nature’s best kept secrets, the taco is just pure awesomeness. Doritos, on the other hand, are one of society’s worst kept secrets: pure orange-fingered goodness wrapped up in a snack food. And now, thanks to the geniuses at Taco Bell, these two fantastic foods have joined forces to bring you the Doritos Locos Taco.

We can learn a lot from Taco Bell’s newest creation, though. (No, not that we need to hit the gym more.) Besides throwing your taste buds a lunch party to end all lunch parties, the Doritos Locos Taco is a great educational tool for freelance writers everywhere.

Think Outside the Bun

It may be Taco Bell’s slogan (which is funny, because they now offer “box items” on their menu), but the cliche rings true for a reason. Be innovative. Don’t just pitch editors what you think they’ll want to hear. Don’t just hand in the same old cookie-cutter article month after month. Instead, take some chances. Try a different writing style, a crazy new topic or a fun, off-the-wall approach. Pitch a magazine you never in a million years would’ve thought to reach out to for work. Or pitch a really different, oddball idea to the editor you speak with daily. You’re certainly not going to hit a home run every time (Crystal Pepsi will vouch for that), but you’ll hit a few out of the park. And you’ll sure have fun trying.

Wonder Twin Powers Activate

Some collaborations just fit perfectly. Rum and Coke. Peanut Butter and Jelly. Starsky and Hutch. But some don’t quite cut the mustard. (Yeah, there’s a reason you’ve never heard of “tuna fish ice cream.”) If you can get the right partner, a team-up may be just what the doctor ordered. Find a fellow writer and start talking about working together. Whether it’s an article, a new joint blog or even just a routine brainstorming session, working with another writer can open up plenty of doors. It’s best to find someone with very different skills/interests so that you can compliment each other.

Always Wear Gloves

When I ate my first Doritos Locos Taco, I made the mistake of pulling it right out of the Doritos-logo sleeve and chowing down. I just couldn’t wait. Then I quickly realized why it comes with that extra sleeve. No, it’s not just branding, it’s functional! After a few bites, I looked down and saw the dreaded orange powder covering all my fingers. So what the heck does that have to do with writing? And for that matter, how are you supposed to type if you’re wearing gloves? Well, I don’t literally mean wear gloves. I mean you should always plan ahead.

The perfect gift wrap.

Taco Bell knew the orange powder could cause a problem, so they included a protective sleeve. When you’re writing, editing, pitching, whatevering, always think ahead. What new idea might your editor be open to this week? What sort of heavy research will be involved with this writing assignment? Do you need to set up any interviews and is timing an issue? When deadlines are crucial, it’s always better to be over-prepared than under-prepared.

Speaking of preparing, I think it’s time I head back to Taco Bell to see if I can learn anything from a Crunchwrap Supreme.

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