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.