If you’re a writer, join the club! (At NSNC, I mean)

imageHey, let’s be honest.

Being a writer is weird.

Most people, given a choice between writing a 200-word essay or being taised in the bare buttocks, would drop their pants before you can say “It was a dark and stormy nigh-AAAAAggghhh!”

Particularly in today’s faced-paced, text-speak oriented world of social media shorthand, the thought of spending hours toiling over words in order to convey an idea, feeling or moment is — in the words of Master of Horror® Stephen King — “A little creepy. But I like it.”

Several years ago, I let my membership to the National Society of Newspaper Columnists lapse. As a result, publishers stopped taking my calls; I entered into a period of writer’s blockage similar to eating a two-pound brick of cheddar; thousands unfriended me on Facebook; I burned my pizza; the list goes on.

Ok, fine. None of that happened, although I did burn a pizza.

Coincidence? We’ll never know for sure.  Continue reading

Finding your writing ‘voice’ (Unless you’re William Hung)

Typewriter at mic (Note: This is part of a weekly series from the website Gliterary Girl, where I’m a regular contributor on the subject of writing. And highly suggestive quilting patterns. But mostly writing.)

There are nearly 8 billion people inhabiting the earth. Most are capable of stringing together a sequence of words in order to communicate an idea or feeling.

Occasionally, this even includes lawyers.

At this very moment, if you were to log on to any social network, you’d find thousands of people writing about any number of topics, including vacations, sex, parenting, mental illness…

Hmmm. Looking back over that last sequence, I see a definite pattern.

Anyway, with all of these people writing, what determines the difference between someone who writes and a writer?

There really is a difference and, as with any art form, deciding between “good” and “poor” writing comes down to personal taste and interpretation. Or possibly an interpreter if you’re reading Ozzy Osbourne’s biography.  Continue reading

Never had food poisoning? Thank a humor columnist

Something every professional journalist should have: A current Food handler’s Card.

Being a journalist, I naturally have journalist friends who, whenever we get together, want to talk about (yawn) heady issues facing the nation and the world. This is done in a discussion format similar to “Meet the Press,” except that our debates are often interrupted by someone’s beer getting knocked over. Aside from that, it’s just like the show on TV. As you can imagine, our exchanges get pretty heated as each of us presents an important topic of debate.

What is our stance on the Middle East?

Should we overhaul social security?

How do we deal with North Korea?

Or, as I challenged:

Why does the new Bugs Bunny look like he’s been shooting steroids with Jose Canseco?

That’s usually when our debate comes to a screeching halt and I’m forced, once again, to defend my journalistic integrity by explaining the value of what I do, then underscoring it by offering to pay for everyone’s beer. Continue reading