Scrambled Toast – My Blog Laboratory: Guest Post by Brad Shorr

I’m delighted to bring you a guest post on “experimenting” by my good friend Brad Shorr.  Brad’s best known for his Word Sell blog, but have you heard of Scrambled Toast?


My humor blog, Scrambled Toast, was born on May 24, 2006. From the beginning, it has been the home of one writing experiment after another. Most of the experiments were failures, but a few worked out rather well. Having my own little humor lab is a lot of fun, and I think with the addition of Robert Hruzek as a co-author, it’s about to get even better. (BTW, Robert and I are looking for additional contributors, in case any of you are interested.)

For you aspiring mad writing scientists, here’s a quick rundown on the strange things I’ve tried at Scrambled Toast. I hope it inspires you to write outside the box!

The original concept of Scrambled Toast was to make it a blog from which to sell my corporate cartoons (hence the URL … another story). The idea was for my blog to be “written” by the various cartoon characters who worked for my fictitious company, Mold Unlimited. The characters included a superstitious CEO, a cowboy CFO, a timid sales manager, a ruthless director of HR, and a pot-smoking purchasing manager.

I quickly moved away from total adherence to this theme, as it struck me as too ridiculously silly to generate any interest. However, several Mold Unlimited cartoons I created were eventually sold or repurposed for clients for use in presentations and newsletters. Mold Unlimited also gave me something to talk about with potential clients, and it never failed to arouse interest. As I was just starting out as a freelance writer, having an ice-breaker was worth its weight in ice, maybe even gold.

Here are a few other Scrambled Toast writing experiment highlights.

A series on British writer G.K. Chesterton’s humorous business observations. This was an attempt at a more intellectual type of humor, quite the opposite of the Mold Unlimited approach. I imagine that this confused readers, but the blog continued to gain popularity for whatever reason. Interestingly, I used the cartoon from the above mentioned link my Blog Action 2008 post. Isn’t repurposing grand?

Words for Nerds turned out to be a hit. I’d take an oddball word, usually one I had to look up myself when reading, and go off on some tangent about it. Test your vocabulary skills on this summary post – it’s attracted some of the best vocabulary minds on the planet.

A recurring feature on songs about business.

A contest to find a name for a rather unusual entrepreneurial business.

Instead of a cartoon caption contest, a cartoon drawing contest based on my caption. Not much interest, except that it attracted an entry from none other than Tony Clark.

Interviews with imaginary characters, including Cast Away’s Wilson and a piñata name Lars.

Biographies of famous chess masters.

With frequent collaborator George Ajazi, the free SEO services guy, an interview where the response was limited to one word.

Trying new approaches keeps my writing fresh and keeps me alert for new perspectives on topics I cover in my Word Sell writing/marketing blog. Some say that predictability and narrow topic focus are desirable for blog content, but I try to give my readers something new to think about, or at least smile about.

Best of all, thanks to the silliness I connected with fabulous bloggers like Robyn McMaster, David Hayward, and (I think) Joanna Young. No project can be deemed a failure when it leads to connections like these.

Is there a totally new way you can approach your topic? Give it a try! Even a failure can hold the seeds of success.

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15 Comments

  1. Alina Popescu · · Reply

    Hi Brad and Joanna,

    Great post you’ve added to this month’s theme, Brad! It’s funny that the moment Joanna’s theme was introduced, i actually got some ideas to experiment on one of my blogs. And what you shared with us here is also a great resource.

    It looks like we have a wonderful month ahead of us :)

    Alina

    Alina Popescus last blog post..New Guest Post on Blogsessive

  2. Hi Alina, glad you’re enjoying the theme… and planning some experiments of your own. Do keep us posted!

    Brad, thank you once again for guest writing at Confident Writing. This one is a gem - it was so much fun to get ready to post. When I checked all the links I kept on shaking my head and thinking ‘I can’t believe he wrote that!’ (In a good way)

    I think your love of ideas, word play, creativity and experimentation shines through at Word Sell too. It’s a constant exploration of what’s possible, and what you can do with the medium. What will work for your readers and what we’ll enjoy the most. I’m sure that’s one of the reasons you have so many raving fans :-)

  3. Brad Shorr · · Reply

    Hi Alina, Please - go for it and experiment on your blog. You’ll enjoy it and come up with things that your readers will love.

    Joanna, thank you so much for the kind words and allowing me to post here. (I hope you will return the favor some day soon!) I suppose I like to write this way, trying to combine entertainment and information, because my favorite teachers in school and in life had that style. By the way, sad news from George Ajazi yesterday … he told me that Lars the Pinata is no more. He met his maker at his son’s birthday party, I imagine. So much for the follow up interview. :(

    Brad Shorrs last blog post..Win Up to $500 Blogging about Cell Phone Users and Abusers!

  4. Robert Hruzek · · Reply

    [Brad, my personal favorite from Mold Unlimited is without a doubt the Cowboy CFO. But I digress.]

    As a card-carrying member of the brilliant, talented, and extremely handsome writing team at Scrambled Toast, lemme just say this is the kind of thing that really puts the crisp in my bacon!

    Experimenting with different writing ideas, just to see what works and what doesn’t - and why - is actually lots of fun! I can testify to the truth of the matter, too: if I hadn’t been willing to experiment, I’da never gotten the Middle Zone off the ground.

    And I’m pretty sure if that hadn’t happened, my head would surely have exploded by now. Messy, messy.

    Besides, I’d never have met YOU guys, either, and that woulda been a cryin’ shame, y’know?

    Robert Hruzeks last blog post..Inlaws and Outlaws

  5. Brad Shorr · · Reply

    Robert, Hondo is my favorite character, too. (He is loosely based on President George W. Bush.) Thank you for joining the ST team and taking its brilliance, talent, and handsomeness up a notch. If any of Joanna’s readers are interested, we are still looking for contributors.

    Brad Shorrs last blog post..Win Up to $500 Blogging about Cell Phone Users and Abusers!

  6. Brad, that is a good description for your style. That is sad news about Lars. I hope he hadn’t been eating too many vegetables before he met his end.

    Robert, I am so very glad you found a way to stop your head exploding. Outlaws most definitely need a fun and experimental outlet for their creative energies. I can’t actually imagine not having to got to know you guys - you’ve become so much a part of my life.

  7. Tumblemoose · · Reply

    Hi Joanna and Brad,

    Guest posting is the coolest thing ever. Well, almost. My TIVO still has to take top honors - sorry.

    Brad your ideas are Mah-velous! I’ve always admired that kind of creativity.

    You’ve given me some great ideas here and Mr. Brad, I’ll be heading over to have a look at your site now.

    Cheers!

    George

    Tumblemooses last blog post..BloggerNewbie is in the House!

  8. Brad Shorr · · Reply

    Hi George, Thank you so much! Where have you been all my life? I just subscribed to your blog - love it. And thank you for adding the Cell Phone Abuse badge to your sidebar. Appreciate it very much. Please do feel free to steal, borrow, build on, disregard, or condemn any of my ideas.

    Brad Shorrs last blog post..Use the Economic Slump to Retool for Success

  9. Robyn McMaster · · Reply

    I loved Scrambled Toast, Brad, and I had not realized that you revived it after you gave Word Sell the new image. Imagine you and Robert doing humor together… that’s almost too much!

    You use some pretty amazing words in relation to me! I’m blushing if you can’t quite see me. ;-) Thanks.

    And, thanks for inviting me to twitter. It took awhile and now that I’m there, I can see why it was such a drawing card. I’ll be getting a new cell phone soon so will see about setting up a contract so that I can post messages from my phone, too. :-) The learning curve remains high.

    Robyn McMasters last blog post..Prodding Your Patience?

  10. George, so much fun to see you and Brad getting to know each other! Who knows where that kind of conversation will lead… Isn’t the internet wonderful?

    Robyn, I think I got to know Brad when I saw comments from him or maybe links to Scrambled Toast from your site. I remember being a bit nervous of someone so witty and creative! I’m glad I ignored my fears and got to know such a great blogging friend.

    Funny to look back on the ways we got to know each other, and how the interactions and connections keep on multiplying, stretching and growing. Twitter’s great for that too and I’m glad you’ve given it a try - and are enjoying your initial experience of it.

  11. I knew this Scrambled Toast when I was visiting Robert’s middlezonemusings, Joanna.

    Although it’s being hosted on free site, but the posts are marvelous :)

    wilsons last blog post..She Has Finally Made It!

  12. Wilson, that’s right, Robert mentioned it recently when he signed up to write there. I can’t wait to see what the two of them cook up there!

  13. Brad Shorr · · Reply

    Robyn, Joanna, Gee, it seems like we’ve known each other for decades, doesn’t it? Robyn, you might be interested to learn that it was Joanna who turned me on to Twitter, so the wheel just keeps on turning …

    Wilson, Thank you for your voice of support for ST. Robert is a great addition!

    Brad Shorrs last blog post..Use the Economic Slump to Retool for Success

  14. News, Observations, and a Question or Two · · Reply

    [...] week, I had a guest post at Joanna Young’s Confident Writing. Thanks, Joanna. The topic was writing experiments. I wrote about my idea lab, Scrambled Toast, a humor blog I’m currently trying to revitalize [...]

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