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Sharpening The Saw – Guest Post by Kosmo

Note from Josh: This is a guest post by Kosmo from The Soap Boxers. Please read carefully so he doesn’t get so enraged and blame me for your inattention and then come over to visit me with bad intentions. He’s got a sharpened saw, you know…


by Kosmo

In 2008, I launched The Soap Boxers – a web magazine with a broad focus.  In addition to the obstacle of not having a niche (a conscious decision I made, in order to maximize my own enjoyment), I was also overcoming a decade-long slump which resulted in minimal creative output.

Or so I thought.

As it turned out, I actually HAD been sharpening the saw a bit over the years, albeit to a limited audience.

My opportunity to write on a regular basis was a food borne opportunity. Not long after I began my employment at a Fortune 500 company, a group of friends decided that it would be a great idea to have a dinner and a movie night.  Each Thursday, we would go to a local restaurant to eat and would then go to someone’s house to watch a movie.

The hosting would rotate amongst the people in the group.  Invitations were sent via email and most of them were straightforward – dinner is at Applebees at 5:30, the movie is at Phil’s place afterward.  We’ll be watching Gladiator.

When it came turn for me to send invitations, I added a bit of flair.  The great musician Zamphir was mentioned on at least one occasion, and the events were marketed into “can’t miss” events.  Shortly thereafter, I became the official scribe for the group.  Each week, I would spin up a creative email based on the choice of restaurant and movie.

Here’s one innocent snippet:

“The trumpeters will trumpet, the drummers will drum, and the flute players will flit, as the uniformed messengers deliver the gold embossed parchment invitations to the doors of those who are lucky enough to be among the chosen.  (For those who are outside of delivery zone #1, email delivery may be used in lieu of parchment).”

On at least one occasion, the restaurant and/or movie were chosen based on how well they fit into the plot of the email, rather than quality.  This wasn’t a major problem for the movies, since the main focus of the viewing was criticizing the movie during the entirety of the showing.

Everyone’s home was officially renamed as a theatre and restaurants had their names twisted slightly.  On more than one occasional, it was necessary to explain the details to a couple of people.  Once, someone called me on my cell phone because they couldn’t find the restaurant’s joke name in the phone book.

Another time, someone showed up at the wrong Australian steakhouse.  Bear in mind that we were in downstate Illinois, not Australia – I had forgotten that there were indeed two Australian steakhouses in town and didn’t describe the location was well as I could have (although everyone else was able to figure it out).

At one point, I trimmed the mailing list to exclude people who hadn’t attended an event in about a year.  People complained.  Although they couldn’t make it to the events, they still wanted to be able to read the invitations.

When I eventually turned my focus back to more serious writing, I was pleasantly surprised to realize that this experience had actually improved my writing skills.

Look around you – you, too, may have an platform where you can hone your writing skills before unleashing your creative endeavors unto the entire world.

About The Author:

Kosmo is an aspiring novelist, vehement opponent of the designated hitter, student of true crime, and plays the keyboard for The Soap Boxers– an eclectic, team-written web magazine.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Christopher Kabamba February 27, 2010, 5:40 am

    Kosmo,
    Great delivery!
    I think that this shows that there is really a purpose for everything…. or atleast, we can find purpose in everything. Everything is sacred.

    Thanks!!

  • Avil Beckford February 27, 2010, 5:44 am

    Kosmo,

    You become better at a craft by doing it, and the act of spinning your tale on the invitations was good practice ground for you. Thanks for sharing your experience. It made me laugh.

    Avil

  • ami February 27, 2010, 8:50 am

    Kosmo: I love how you took something you enjoyed and turned it into an opportunity to hone your skills. This is a great lesson for anyone who wants to be a writer (or anything else) – there are many opportunities to practice your craft, if you remain open and seize them when you see them.

  • kosmo February 27, 2010, 8:52 am

    I’m going to be away from computer today – I’ll respond to comments when I get back.. Thanks!

  • Shannon O | Confessions of a Loving Wife February 27, 2010, 9:07 am

    “In addition to the obstacle of not having a niche (a conscious decision I made, in order to maximize my own enjoyment)”

    Your right Kosmo writing these blogs should be fun, after all we’re pouring our time, energy and fortitude into these things… They should be enjoyable, if they’re not enjoyable for the creator, how can they be successful or entertaining to the reader?

  • Daisy February 27, 2010, 7:08 pm

    I wish I lived in your neck of the woods so I could read the invitations – or even go with your crew to a restaurant and movie!

  • Kosmo @ The Casual Observer February 28, 2010, 7:44 am

    @ Christopher, Avril, Ami – Yeah, the invitation were a good way to practice my writing. Over the years, I probably wrote 150 of them. Nearly all of which were lost to the delete button, of course.

    @ Shannon – I wanted to write, but knew that I’d never fit into a niche. I’ve always resisted being pigeon-holed, and didn’t really need to chase the $$ that a niche can lead too, since I have a good day job (although, if fortune comes knocking, I’ll answer).

    We actually have about 10 writers on staff, each of whom contribute different topics. We have even have a political day (thursday) which alternates Republican and Demcrat viewpoints each week.

    @ Daisy – Well, I know of a certain blog that has a few hundred of my writing samples 🙂 I do write humor ocassionally – http://www.observingcasually.com/category/humor/ – often using my alter ego, ace reporter Scoop Chevelle, in the story.

    I also do a fiction story each friday, but true to my eclectic nature, these run the gamut from hard boiled murder stories (Tale of the wolf -> http://www.observingcasually.com/fiction-friday-the-tale-of-the-wolf/ ) to children’s stories (Ferdinand the Turtle -> http://www.observingcasually.com/ferdinand-the-turtle/ )