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Showing posts from January, 2006

Humor writing secrets

A lot of people shy away from writing humor. I subscribe to several speechwriting newsletters, and all of them admonish their readers that they should be very, very careful in using humor in their speeches – almost to the point of never doing it. Because, like guns, it’s very dangerous in the hands of the inexperienced and unfunny.

(Surprisingly, my humor writers discussion group, the NetWits, has never warned its members about the perils of writing speeches. Apparently this is the easier of the two vocations.)

Actually, writing humor is pretty easy, if you know the secrets. Of course, knowing the secrets aren’t enough. You have to be able to execute them well. I mean, I can throw a football well enough to play in a pick-up game, but I’ll never beat Peyton Manning out of his job with the Indianapolis Colts. So don't think that just because you know the formula, you're automatically going to be funny. It still takes practice and an ear for a good joke or funny word or phrase.

And …

The cool thing about blogging, err, Moleskine Notebooks

Blogging is a great viral marketing tool -- sort of the "I told two friends, and they told two friends, and so on and so on" phenomenon. The great thing about blogging is that 1) it's so easy, 2) it's an easy read, and 3) everyone is peeking over each other's shoulder to see what they're blogging about. Then 4) they write about it in their own blogs, which prompts their readers to check that other stuff out.

That happened to me, when Steve at RecordingThoughts.com wrote about my entry about my Moleskine notebook. My first thought was "wow, someone's actually reading this?" But my bigger, and more pressing thought was, "Wow, there are websites devoted to things we use to record our thoughts!" There's also this one at Moleskinerie.com. From what I can tell, it's a pretty cool site about a nifty little notebook. Even guitarist Ottmar Leibert likes it.

Turns out Moleskine is pronounced "MOLE-uh-SKEEN-uh" and NOT "MOLE-…

Ego Surfing

One of the great things about the Internet is that you have a chance to publish your stuff anywhere. It can be your own website or blog, someone else's ezine, or even a fairly decent news site like The American Reporter. Unfortunately, the downfall is that your stuff can easily be stolen and published elsewhere. While it's sort of flattering to an insecure writer like me, it can be downright aggravating to guys like Bruce Cameron (the 8 Simple Rules to Dating My Teenage Daughter guy). For a while, he had a full-time staffer whose job it was to write nasty letters to people who had plagiarized his columns (he also did the one about the chili tasting judge who suffered horrible agony during the contest).

So I will occasionally ego surf for myself on Google.com. Ego surfing can be dangerous. On one hand, it's a huge boost to your ego when you find your name in an unexpected place. On the other, it can be a devastating blow if you don't find anything at all. Of course, it&#…