Thursday, January 2, 2014

979. Funny Rhymes with Money (and Sunny)

When I tell people I am a writer, they immediately assume that I write for something real, like John Grisham, Shakespeare, or the Wall St. Journal.  When they find out I write humor, they are briefly excited, expecting me to say that I am Kathy Griffin’s lead writer, or that I did consulting for Seinfeld when it was on the air.  They seem vaguely disappointed to discover that I write a blog.

The conversation typically goes like this: 
“So, what do you do?” 

“I write humor.” 
“You do?!?  That is so cool!  Say something funny!” 

“Umm …”
“Oh, are you going to use things that I say?  Am I giving you good material?  Will I be famous, and will you mention me in the credits?” 

“I don’t know …”
“Who do you write for, anyway?”

“I just write for myself, on my blog.”
“Blog*?”  *The word blog is said like someone might say “Tuna flavored ice-cream?”

“Who pays you?” 

“No one.” 
“You write for free*, then?” *This is the point where they are losing interest, and if we are at a holiday party, they start scanning the room for someone more interesting to talk to.

“Well, technically the idea is not that I want to write for free, but because I have no ads on my blog, by my own choice—I find them to be distracting—I don’t get paid.”
“You make zero, then?  Why don’t you volunteer?  My mother-in-law’s nursing home needs someone to edit their monthly newsletter, and it is for free, but you might make some contacts!”

“Umm, no, thanks.  I actually have written a couple of books, based on my blog, so I am not really looking to edit a newsletter, but it is a really nice offer.” 
“Books?  You write books?  So you must make some money.  Have you been on any talk shows about your books?  Have you thought about trying out for a reality show?”

“Not really.” 
“In that case, seriously, you should consider the newsletter.  It’s not all obituaries, there are some fun events.”

“I appreciate it, but no.”
“I know the director personally, I can totally get you an interview.”

“It’s not all doom and gloom, the name of the nursing home is ‘Sunny Skies’ and they have sports night and dancing!”

Here I give a weak smile, a smile that says, Next time someone asks me what I do I will stick with “I am a stay-at-home mom, and I mostly do laundry and make peanut butter sandwiches.” 

p.s. Happy New Year, 2014!


  1. This is why I never mention the blog. Even when someone tries to talk about it my presence, I shush them. It is the thing which must not be named. If they want to talk to me about it, submit it in writing.
    Of course, I've never been offered a job as a volunteer newsletter editor, either. :)

  2. Many years ago I had a volunteer 'job' writing articles for a monthly cat magazine and really enjoyed doing it but a proper paid job eventually meant it became too much and I gave it up. I didn't write seriously then until I started my blog almost four years ago, and I now only really mention it to people who I know, meet or correspond with through camping; as it's a camping blog it may not be of interest to anyone else, though as it's grown I've picked up a few readers who aren't campers.

  3. Making peanut butter sandwiches is a very noble calling. You would be considered in much higher esteem if you just went with that, and no one would ask you to say anything more about it, because its prestige speaks for itself.

  4. Oh great. Now I have to compete with you and all the people out there that are trying to make a living making peanut butter sandwiches.

  5. At least when you get tired of making peanut butter sandwiches, you can start making tuna-flavored ice-cream sandwiches....


  6. I deliberately don 't have ads on my blog either, but I have a pushy friend who keeps trying to get me to monetize it. I wouldn't mind the tampons or deodorant ads, but I'd be really offended if they put up peanut butter and detergent ads - as if that's all I'm good for. No offense to you of course. I'm sure you have much more going for you than just doing laundry and making sandwiches. Avoiding nursing homes, for instance.

  7. I deliberately don't run ads on my blog either, but I have a pushy friend who keeps trying to get me to monetize it. I wouldn't mind the tampons or deodorant ads, but I wouldn't want them pushing peanut butter and detergent as if that's all I'm capable of doing. No offense to you, of course. I'm sure you have many more skills than just doing laundry and making sandwiches. For instance, avoiding nursing homes.


When you write a comment, it makes me feel like I won the lottery or at the very least like I ate an ice-cream sundae. (This has nothing to do with the fact that I did just eat an ice-cream sundae.)