I can’t believe I have been enjoying writer Karen Marston’s monthly What I’ve Read column for a full year.

Why do I get so pumped about seeing what my friends are reading? Why do I badger people into updating their Goodreads? Why is Goodreads’ UX so painfully ugly?

We just don’t know.

What we do know is this: Karen is right. Reading is important for writing. And talking about reading is fun. She looks like she’s having a ton of fun doing it. So I’ll talk about reading, too.

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I have some top-notch FREE advice for anyone that needs to update their blog more often but is too “busy” or out of ideas or just too lazy. (All of these are me.)

Start a column where you just talk about things you like or good things that have happened in the world lately.

Lots of Things Are Bad, But It Turns Out Some Things Are Actually Good

Not writing makes me sad. And not getting any work done is very bad.

Likewise, literally anything that has come out of Trump’s mouth in the last week will probably make me sad. 8 girls going missing in DC and very likely forced into human trafficking is horrifyingly bad. (You can help by spreading the word and their pictures on social media.)

But it’s Friday, so let’s not think about these things today. Instead of being sad, let’s fill ourselves up with art and laughter and other wholesome things.

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I don’t have much to say about this.

There are a lot of things I could say that won’t be very helpful for you, like:

  • I HATE when people do this
  • Am I right ladies? Who’s with me?!
  • It’s so annoying
  • Even Cracked.com thinks so
  • People should stop doing it.

But that’s not really an article, that’s more of a rant. Other than ranting about how lazy I think it is—and how insulting I think it is that marketing people think they can appeal to watchers and readers so easily, just by throwing in some lazy attempts at humor with aimless silliness—I don’t have anything very concrete to say about the topic.

And when I realized I didn’t have much to say on the topic, I discovered the reason I still needed to write on it: Knowing when you don’t have anything to say is important.

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If my blog were a very low maintenance pet I only had to feed once a week it’d be dead. Since October.

Embarrassing! Ain’t much to say here but:

  • Look, shit happens. Life happens.
  • Ya girl needs to get better at prioritizing.
  • I feel, like, a tiny bit bad—but not a lot bad, because that’s not gonna get either of us anywhere.
  • Don’t trust me with your pets.

So. I’m ready to start feeding that pet every week again so it’ll fatten itself up SO MUCH that its stomach will be like a fluffy little broom that sweep, sweep, sweeps up my floors wherever it goes. (I know. This metaphor is some weak shit.)

I’m back, bitch. To say hi, to say LOOK OUT WORLD, to tell you what’s coming to the site this year, to let you in on some of my resolutions, and to ask you about yours.

And to tell you that if there’s something you know you should have been doing regularly these past few months–but haven’t—that you should get back on top of your shit, too. Let’s go, girl or guy.

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You can buy followers. Or you can prostitute yourself on the nearest street corner.

You can serial follow hoping for people to follow you back (and then of course, unfollow them later), the internet version of going in for a high-five with someone before exclaiming like a douchebag “OO, too slow.”

Or you can earn your followers.

I realize writing a guide on how to get an extra measly 1,000 followers ain’t glamorous. But think of it as the good girl’s guide to doing Twitter. The honest way. You know, the way that doesn’t make you look like a giant asshole.

Here’s what I did in the last 2 months that earned me the most followers. It’s a guide pointed more towards joke Twitter, but really tweaked versions of this should work for any kind of Twitter community you’re looking to be a part of.

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I never wanted a Twitter.

Then I learned that “joke Twitter” was a thing. Did you know it’s a thing? (That’s why we have Favstar.)

But it is, and it’s actually a very cool thing. Here are 12 things I learned about that thing by writing at least 5 jokes every day for the last 3 months.

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I get sick and tired (literally, medically) and am unable to work full time for 6 months and just when I’m getting back in the groove of things and easing into a productive, early morning schedule again, hurricane Matthew pops up and says, “Just kidding, bitch—you THOUGHT. You thought things were going back to normal.” And then he kicks me in the lady-nads.

Matthew, Matthew. Do I hate you because you’re a hurricane? Or love you because you have the same first name as the best quarterback in the NFL? Or do I cringe because you’re also the name of one of my exes?

I cringe and cry because you’re a goddamn hurricane. Not one that puts me in any huge amount of danger, hopefully—what I’m a bit more worried about is the people who can’t afford to just up and move during this mandatory evacuation and are taking freaking Carta buses to safe shelters. Let’s pray for ‘em.

So there’s a tinge of gratefulness and a tinge of oh shit-ness. Here’s the bad news:

  • My brother and best friend were literally kicked out of downtown Charleston because shit’s getting so real there. So they have to stay with me 30 miles inland.
  • I’m worried I won’t get as much work done because 2 of my 3 favorite people on earth are trapped in a house with me and lots of alcohol and no work schedule for the rest of the week.

Here’s the good news:

  • I have 2 of my 3 favorite people here with me during this giant shitstorm and we get to try to stay safe and sound together. And the other 4th of my heart is safe at home with her husband.
  • We have lots of alcohol. Am I drunk now? You don’t know. You can’t prove it.
  • There’s a Clemson game on Friday night.
  • The BFF is so good to me that she let me abandon her to go write this and get some other work done while she’s in the other room watching Grey’s Anatomy. She wants me to work and get my shit in order. She’s good to me.
  • I get to see my brother’s angel of a dog, Sadie.

Matthew Don’t Give a Shit About Your Plans

And it’s just gonna have to be alright for now, because what else can you do?

Plans change. Blog post-writing time gets cut short down to half an hour because you’re suddenly hosting your people during a category 3 hurricane. The wine you stocked up on for the whole week accidentally gets a bit too dipped into because fuck it, there’s a hurricane coming.

What’s a gal to do?

Pretty sure it’s this: have a drink, shift the work schedule around, be flexible—and feel good knowing the people I love the most are in the next room.

Joke formats are like curse words.

When you use ‘em well, they make beautiful, comical magic. When you overuse them, everyone is embarrassed to be around you and won’t want to invite you to their Super Bowl party anymore. Not that I’d know. What that’s like. Or anything.

Yes, when they’re overused, we roll our eyes at them. Hard. Just like any other kind of joke, they can get old fast. But because it IS possible to use a joke format and still be creative, be original, be fresh—I think it’s worth giving a whirl.

Why Formats?

Why use them or create your own?

First off, they’re great for studying the anatomy of a joke. It’s easier to break down the parts of a joke, analyze it, and figure out why it’s funny when you have a handful of the same kind to group together and study.

Whether you’re writing it or reading it, it’s kind of like a shortcut for your brain. Ah, your brain says. I’ve kind of seen this before. I kind of already know where this is going. But wait! There’s something new to it.

Here’s another plus: if you’ve ever sat down to a blank page to write jokes, you know it’s much harder to write if you haven’t given yourself any specific direction. Choosing random topics to write jokes on, writing jokes about your day, or—aha!—using formats are all great ways to narrow your focus.

So there’s 2 good reasons so far. Easy to understand/analyze and helps narrow your focus.

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Just like you knew not to tell that fart joke at your great-aunt Linda’s funeral, you know when it’s okay to be funny. It’s usually obvious whether or not it’s appropriate to use humor.

Until it isn’t. Until you get sent to HR for loading up your coworker’s desk phone with pennies like Jim from the Office. Because, oh shit—you’re not Jim Halpert and this isn’t TV and SOMETIMES the line’s a little fuzzy.

As much as I like to say that we need a lot more humor in marketing, there are right and wrong places to use it. Let’s talk about it—because HR probably wants to deal with your stupid, inappropriate office/marketing humor even less than you want to have to deal with a visit from them.

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Here’s my top 3 marketing tips if you want to feel like an absolute snake:

1) Use (OVERUSED) marketing buzzwords like thought leader and empowerment. 2) Follow a ton of people on social media and hope they follow you back. 3) Abuse pop up windows and try not to hate yourself.

Also called My 3-Step System for Losing Yourself in the Sea of Online Marketing Noise.

ALSO CALLED my 3-Step System for Being Really Lazy.

But here’s my #1 marketing tip for, you know, actually marketing in a nice, wholesome (yet seductive) way.

Be really sexy with words.

Be interesting. Be funny. (Which is actually like being sexy, interesting, and fresh all at once.)

Mmm, freshness. That’s just what our online marketing strategies need. It could just be what yours needs: a little bit of a sense of humor.

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