Humour without the Nasties

From Jade Walker‘s newsletter The Written Word:

“A writer hopes to surprise his readers now and then. If we agree about everything, then one of us is redundant. Of course, rigorous truthfulness is good, but that gets harder and harder to achieve. So I settle for being amusing.” – Garrison Keillor

Humour writing has several subgenres. Which you choose or end up writing depends on your own personality and morals/ values. I think it’s cheap and taking the easy way out to pick on others. Not so different for those who pick on themselves. You are hurting someone either way. Can you write an article that’s funny but doesn’t take pot shots at anyone? It might be harder than you think.

You Need a PIM

Do you remember that woman you emailed about writing that article? You know, the one you met on that website the other night. Remember, she had that really cool email address, you were sure it would be easy to remember, it’s on the tip of your pen… if only you had kept track of that information.

Been there? Been there a few more times than you care to admit? Me too. Let’s do something about it.

Let’s work on getting organized. If we do it together it won’t hurt quite so much. Yes, I’m lying but just pretend you don’t know that.

Start with contact management. I know you have a whole pile of papers you’re itching to sort out right away, all those great ideas you intend to make into that really great and ever so useful idea folder which we discussed in a previous newsletter. But… let’s work on managing your contacts today. If you can remember who you promised what to and their email address you’re ahead of the game. Plus, you won’t drive yourself crazy wondering what you missed among the clutter on your desk and in your brain.

I found a freeware contact manager/ address book last night. It looks good, really good. Plus it’s freeware, how can you go wrong with that? (Shh, I like some illusions). You can find it at JB Enterprises. I’m including a link below with the newsletter. It will also be with my current BW column once I get that far.

Another program which seems to offer more than contact management and is geared to writers is The Literary Machine. I haven’t done more than download that one. But, it sounds worth an exploration. That link will also be below.

Check around yourself for other contact management and PIM (personal information manager) software. You might get lucky and find something exceptional. I just look for the freeware, that’s the kind of grrl I am.

Family Fear Factor

Today, there are 65 subscribers to this newsletter. (Note, this was originally posted to the WordCraft newsletter on BackWash, awhile ago). Are you all crazy? I’m a fraud, I couldn’t tell you how to write your way out of a wet paper bag even if I had a map. Just ask my family.

First, they say something that feels like a polite, supportive pat on the head. But they top it with the qualifier. The qualifier is not a good thing, its something about not making money, not having perfect grammar, the typo they found in the odd article they actually did read, etc. Do people give you qualifiers?

Rejection from some editor is one thing. But, its not personal. Family and friends are another thing. How can that not be personal. Likely, they mean well. I know mine do. But each qualifier is like a mountain I have to climb out from under. For a moment I’m suffocating, buried alive under more earth than I could dig my way out from. Not so different from my nephew’s quest in the backyard, that hole to China he starts again, every Fall, in the garden.

But, you do have to keep digging. Keep trying and keep your eye on your goals, your passions and your reasons for wanting to write. Maybe you just write for yourself. But secretly you want to take the next step, its just hard to believe you really can. After all your spelling isn’t that great, the stuff you write about is boring and your grammar is as good as mine.

Welcome to the club, now get writing.


We currently need good writers for our newsletter sites that are growing rapidly. At the moment (January 2011) we have six active sites each of which has a number of newsletters and our writers daily prepare summaries that are sent to a range of clients to help keep them up to date with important business developments.

It’s interesting but before I sign up I’d like to hear from others who are involved. How has it been working for them.

Addendum: The site may be abandoned. The section for writers seems to have been forgotten since 2011.

Sometimes my Brain Amazes Me

Writing isn’t enough, you have to have a mad, passionate affair with words and then be brazen enough to get paid for it.

That is a description I wrote for the WordCraft newsletter. Not something I spent time planning and rethinking and checking and pondering in general. Just spur of the moment. But, aren’t those flashes of inspiration the best! Bryan Adams once said all his best songs were written in a few minutes. The ones he sweated over and took ages to perfect didn’t become big hits. It’s so true!

PS- I love you Bryan! Vicariously and from a distance but you get the idea… 😉