Today, I want to share a guest post I once penned for a defunct blog named Bornean Bookworm Reads.
Humor Me ... Please
I may be an author (although the jury is still out on that; presumably at lunch!), but I’m certainly not a fast writer. Perhaps it’s better to say I’m not a quick writer. Then again, since I’m not physically writing, the correct statement may be that I don’t type fast … but that can be interpreted as a lack of typing skill—which, although true, is not what I’m trying to say.
Let me start over.
Writing is hard … difficult ... laborious … whatever adjective you prefer. Of course, I can’t speak for all authors. I can only speak for this author (and sometimes I’m not even qualified to do that) when I say that nothing I write comes quickly or easily—not the idea, not the actual words that convey the idea, and not the action (typing or writing) that makes the idea exist in reality.
I’m not just talking about writing books; I’m talking about composing an email, or adding sentiments to a greeting card, or filling out a feedback form, or putting comments on a student’s paper. Pretty much anything that requires writing.
Even blogs. Or, I might say, especially blogs. And especially, especially guest blogs.
You see, the blogs I post on my website pale in comparison to the guest blogs I write. Mind you, this doesn’t mean my guest blogs are anything special—I can’t be objective enough to judge that—it simply means that they beat the heck out of my regular blogs.
Which is how it should be. When I write a guest blog, I’m not necessarily writing for my audience; in fact, most of the readers don’t even know who I am until my piece shows up on their favorite blog or website. Since they don’t know who I am, they certainly don’t know what I’m about, what my style is, or even if they like me or not.
So, a guest blog is kind of like an audition. It’s great in that it offers a wonderful opportunity to reach a new, ready-made audience. It’s terrifying in that there is a tremendous potential for failure—and who wants that?
I’ve tried failure. It’s overrated.
And there are so many ways to fail. It can be spectacular or decisive or embarrassing or boring or insulting or umpteen other ways, but in the end it’s still failure. It’s one case where it really doesn’t matter how you got there, only that you did.
I prefer success, and while many things change in this world of ours, one thing that doesn’t is this: success is more often the result of desire and effort over time, than it is of luck or chance.
Now, before I begin sounding like a motivational speaker, let me explain why I share that. Since I realize a guest blog is an opportunity, I therefore have the requisite desire to do well. Which means I still have plenty to do on the road to success, but I’m off to a good start.
I then spend as much time as possible doing research on the site that’s hosting my guest blog—I read through blog posts and comments, trying to get an overall “feel” for the site while everything sort of percolates through the gray matter. Ultimately, I’m praying that inspiration strikes, so I have something to write about.
Some blogs ask for a specific topic or theme, while others leave it up to me. Believe it or not, neither situation is easier than the other. Just because I know what to write about doesn’t mean I know what to write.
On average, a guest blog takes me three to four hours to write—not to research and come up with an idea ... to write. Remember, I don’t write fast (you know what I mean; don’t get me started on that again!).
It’s a labor of love. I love writing. I love telling stories. I love entertaining people.
And, when all else fails—when inspiration doesn’t strike, or when it just kind of hits me with a glancing blow but doesn’t really knock me off my feet—I resort to humor.
Humor is a universal lubricant. It makes conversation easier. It makes relationships easier. It makes life easier.
It can certainly make guest blogs easier.
Now, as anyone with any common sense knows, one has to be very, very careful with humor. It’s as powerful, and as unstable, as nitroglycerin. One wrong move can trigger a catastrophe.
I have some common sense—not a lot, as I think my parents saved money by buying the base model son—but enough to keep me safe most of the time. Except for this one time … at band camp …
So, I often resort to humor in my guest blogs. It serves as a lubricant, of course. It also covers up the fact that I sometimes (most times, if I’m being totally honest—although I’m not sure we’re at that stage, yet) have nothing of value to say. Most importantly, it helps me seem more accessible and endearing and witty (or so my editor says), because my humor is typically at my expense.
I make fun of my fears, my failings, and my peccadillos. Heck, if I did a video blog, I’d make fun of my New York accent (that’s northern New York accent, not New York City accent—there is a difference).
I invite you to laugh at me. Actually, I invite you to laugh with me, because I’m not only my biggest critic and cruelest taskmaster, I also moonlight as the court jester of my own mental kingdom. There’s a lot or empty space in there, so I expect the real estate developers to show up any day.
Until then, I’m going to keep plugging—and blogging—along, fueled by liberal doses of laughter. I may not write quick, but I’ve got a quick wit.