Janet Sumner Johnson
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embarrassing situations

This is SO Not My 850th Post

Jan

19, 2012 |

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Flipping through my Blogger Dashboard yesterday, I happened on Elana Johnson’s post, titled: What Does One Blog About for Post #850? (For the record, we’re not related. We checked. Still, I fondly think of her as my amazing little cousin.)

So wow. That’s a lot of posts. And that’s a question (minus the #850 part) that I (and other bloggers, I’m quite sure) ask all the time. So today I give you my list of what to blog on when you’ve got nothin’.

  1. Share a Personalized License Plate (duh!).
  2. Piggyback off someone else’s blog post (clever, that).
  3. Find a picture and make a post out of it. (Joanne at Whole Latte Life is excellent at this).
  4. Share an embarrassing moment from your life.
  5. Share a favorite quote.
  6. Share an inspirational moment from your life.
  7. Do an “Awards” post. You know all those awards floating around, right? Surely you forgot to pass one of them forward. And if you didn’t really get one, just pretend. Who’s going to know, right? 😉
  8. Make up your own award and give it to someone.
  9. Spotlight your favorite blogger.
  10. Spotlight one of your heros.
  11. Let your readers ask you questions that you promise to answer truthfully (a blogging-world favorite).
  12. Talk about the people-watching you did at the grocery store (or from your front porch if you’re in a pinch).
  13. Comment on a bit of news you read/heard.
  14. Close your eyes then open them. Now write an essay on the first physical object that you see. You can talk about how it inspires you. (ex: Toothbrush. How inspiring that a toothbrush works day in an day out and wears itself out just to keep you from getting gingivitis).
  15. Tell a joke.
  16. Comment on a favorite movie (bonus if you relate it to writing).
  17. Tell a cute kid story.
  18. Tell about that time that you lied to your mom about hitting that baseball through the window, then blamed it on your . . . oh wait. Mom, I totally did not do that. Really.
  19. Start a story and ask your readers to each add a sentence.
  20. Post a picture of yourself when you were young. Be sure to include a funny story about yourself.
  21. Share a song that inspires you.
  22. Have a contest/Give something away.
  23. Videotape yourself doing something crazy (why, I do believe that’s called a vlog!).

Okay, okay. I’m going to stop there because I can hear that snoring back there. Yeah, I mean you! So what do you do when you’ve got nothing?

Speak up:

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Conference Advice, Part 2

Nov

17, 2011 |

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So it’s lunchtime at the writing conference. My friend and I had been at separate sessions just prior so I’m looking everywhere for her in the dining area. When I’m certain she’s not there, I find a mostly empty table and ask the women sitting there if they don’t mind if I and a friend join them. Of course they graciously let me sit.

I found my friend, sat down and after catching up, turned to our neighbors. It was a woman and her 13-year-old daughter. Very nice. Her name was Bonnie. So here’s a bit of the conversation that ensued:

BONNIE: Have you attended many conferences?

ME: [shrug] I’ve been to a few. How about you? Have you been to many?

BONNIE: [shrug] Yeah, I’ve presented at quite a few conferences.

ME: [choke on my salad] Oh. Yeah, I guess there’s that.

SENIOR EDITOR BONNIE: [graciously ignoring my red cheeks] So what do you write?

Okay, so the point of this little story? STUDY THE LIST OF PRESENTERS BEFORE YOU GO. Cyber stalk them. Find their picture and know who they are. In fact, the conferences usually post these on the website. Then maybe, just maybe, you can avoid embarrassing yourself like I so thoroughly did.

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Happenstance and Other Things That Make You Laugh

Dec

15, 2010 |

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I gravitate towards humor. Those side-splitting, gut-wrenchingly funny books are my favorite. Janette Rallison‘s books always make me laugh.

And I’ve found that I love to write that way . . . but MAN! Not so easy (I’m still aspiring to it).

So for any others out there who may be interested in writing humor, here are some ways to inject humor into your book.

  1. Slapstick: Have your MC run into a pole, or trip over their own two feet. Putting several such instances in a series of events is even better. Good old three stooges comedy.
  2. Wordplay: Humor with words can come in many forms—self-deprecation; witty, sarcastic comments; and you know how you come up with the most clever comebacks about five minutes too late? Let your MC use them, and bonus, your brilliance is no longer wasted.
  3. Embarrassing situations: Remember that dream with you at your High School  pep rally wearing only your underwear? Make it real for your MC. OR just take your own most embarrassing moment ever and make your MC suffer it, too. (Note: A cheerleader sliding down a mud hill and landing in a muddy puddle at the bottom while the whole boys basketball team watches—not that that ever happened to me—may not work if your book is set in medieval times. Maybe a dairy maid could fall into a mud puddle while the blacksmith’s son [who she’s secretly crushing on] watches. You get the idea).
  4. Happenstance: Who hasn’t seen the bus drive through a mud puddle soaking the poor man at the bus stop who was just having the worst day ever? Total happenstance situation. 
  5. Puns:  You know, when your MC is deciding if they should really knock on the door of Apt. 2B where their crush lives, and they say to themselves: “2B or not 2B . . .” Punny, punny, punny.
  6. Some things are just inherently funny: A fat lip. The word Aardvark. Dodos. Monkey brains. A talking cucumber. Road signs that say “Men Working.” Etc., etc.

So do you write humor? What sort of humor makes you laugh hardest?

Speak up:

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