Apr 12 2011
Please join me this week in welcoming the witty, delightful, and charming Molly Campbell, blogger and funny lady extraordinaire. Molly, a friend to funny bones everywhere, has just launched an exciting new venture. I, for one, am eager to hear all about it.
Welcome, other awesome Molly. The big news in cyberspace is that you have an exciting new website called http://www.charactersinsearchofanovel.com. Dish, girlfriend. Tell us all about it.
Here is the story behind my new website. In addition to my usual Twitterings, I opened an account just for fun, called @insearchofnovel, in which I created a character name and tiny backstory each day. I posted these for fun. Example: “Today’s character in search of a novel: She beats her husband and makes moonshine: Loretta Squirrels.” I did hundreds of these, but along the way, developed some fans. I was encouraged to develop these characters a bit further, and with the help of wonderful artist Randy Palmer, I did just that.
http://www.charactersinsearchofanovel.com is my “micro fiction” site. I plan to do an anthology of Loretta and her friends online, and publish them into a book sometime in the near future. I have a shop on the site, where readers can buy “Loretta” T shirts, mugs, tote bags, etc. I love doing this in addition to my humor writing.
You’ve been blogging successfully at www.mollydcampbell.com (I’m assuming the .com stands for “comedy”) with your blog, “View From The Empty Nest.” Tell us more about your blog and life with your husband, Charlie, the accordian man. I’m guessing he provides you with a great deal of material.
I began my humor blog as a journal to a group of my friends as a way to entertain myself when recovering from facial reconstruction surgery. I had skin cancer that required removal of a large portion of my nose. I was “shut in” during the period of the surgeries and recovery, and began to use humor to keep my friends updated. I called them my “Frankenstein Outreach” group, and some of them urged me to start blogging. My husband, Charlie, the “accordion man,” was often the subject of my blogs, as he is very hilarious and often does outrageous things. It really has been wonderful for me. I have built in inspiration and someone to make fun of. And Charlie loves to read about himself.
What might Charlie write about you if he had a blog?
Actually, Charlie DOES have a blog of sorts. He does a weekly “It’s Great In Dayton” newsletter that he sends out to over 5000 people. In it, he reports on new restaurants, arts events, news, and whatever enters his mind. He did a piece recently on Saint Polycarp. Charlie is full of enthusiasm, curiosity, and he has a very wide range of interests. If he were to write about me, he would probably complain about the quality of the food served around here. I have lost all interest in the kitchen!
At what age did you know you simply had to write about the world around you?
I have always loved writing. However, most of my writing during my adult life was as a corporate trainer, writing proposals and training scripts. I also write a mean business letter! I didn’t start writing seriously until I retired from my corporate career and after I did a stint at a veterinarian’s office as a receptionist for eight years. I consider being a writer my REAL career. I just had to be a mom, and get those other jobs out of the way first!
Do you write every day? Do you have any rituals?
I don’t write every day. I think about stuff all the time, and when something hits me, I have to sit down and write about it. Because I am not a novelist, I can finish one article at a sitting. I usually write something one day, let it sit, and then go back another day to edit it. But there are many days that I don’t write at all.
A little birdie told me you were a happy Kindle owner. Has the ebook revolution changed your reading habits? If so, can you tell us how?
Since getting a Kindle, I carry it around with me constantly. I can’t say that it has changed my reading habits. Here is the terrible thing: I have discovered Kindle games! I am now addicted to “Triple Town,” “Scrabble,” and “Shuffled Row.” Sometimes I forget that one can read books on the thing! But seriously, I read around three books a week on the Kindle. I find it very comforting to know that I will never again find myself in the situation I used to: pacing around the house looking for something that I haven’t read already. With a Kindle, I never run out of things to read.
Social media, that ever-evolving beast, has changed the way we do everything. What are your favorite and least-favorite parts of it?
My favorite thing about Social Media is all of the wonderful writers I have met on Twitter. I have managed to build a career using Social Media. Erma Bombeck had to go out into the world and make her way. I am nowhere near as famous or talented as Erma, but what I have accomplished has been via Social Media. I haven’t had to change out of my pajamas or leave my pantry. What a wonder! The flip side of Social Media is that it is a time consumer. In order to maintain relationships, I have to spend time on Twitter and Facebook. This takes me away from actual writing.
I’ll bet you give great advice. So, what advice would you offer to aspiring writers/bloggers?
This is tough. Books have been written on the subject. But to be brief, I have two pieces of advice. First, be concise. I think many bloggers get lost in the beauty of adjectives and adverbs, and wax poetic for too long. A good blog post is under 600 words. Many bloggers would argue with this, but I find that if I have to scroll down too much in a post, I get bored. I read way too many blogs to spend too much time on any one. Second, make friends with other writers. Writers support each other, give great advice, and promote the heck out of each other.
Let’s get to the really important stuff. Our shared name: Molly. Let’s face it: we are amazing women. What qualities do you think we have in common?
Well, I am far from picky! As a matter of fact, I think my motto might be “Don’t bother to do your best; really. Good is enough.” I am a kind of slap-dash person.
What do you know now that you wish you knew five years ago?
Anyone can be a writer. Just write. Start blogging. Be consistent. Readers will follow. But it helps to have some talent.
What do you hope to know in five years that you don’t know now?
How easy it was to become a successful self-publisher. Or better yet, how to become a New York Times bestselling essayist!
What are the top-five items on your To-Do list?
One: stay strong; keep working out and maintaining a good fitness level. Two: Laugh every day. Put things in perspective. Three: Don’t cry at my daughter’s wedding. Four: Find some new kinds of cereal (getting tired of Cheerios and Chex) and Five: Find a way to eat more chocolate.
I’ve been forever called picky, but I maintain that we’re all picky creatures. What are you picky about?
I am not picky about most things. However, spelling and grammar are very dear to my heart. Otherwise, I am not a perfectionist. As a matter of fact, I have worn the path of least resistance very thin. And life isn’t worth living without at least five cats.
Any parting words for the masses? Any shameless plugs?
If you have writer’s block, just start writing about a different subject. Stick with your husband no matter how annoying he is; there aren’t any better ones out there, and finally: doesn’t every one in the world need at least ONE Loretta Squirrels T-shirt?