Right Place, Right Time?
For those of you who don’t know me well, or those who think they know me, but have got me mixed up with someone else, I’m a primarily a humour writer.
Observational humour in particular. By which I mean if someone tells me a funny joke in the pub, I laugh but that’s as far as it goes. It’ll not make its way into a post. But if an inebriated individual falls down a step on his way to the gents, I’ll snap up the moment and use it.
(If I’m uninjured of course)
Over the last few years a number of my readers have let me know that they are amazed at the material I consistently produce. From their questions, praise and comments it is clear they have been struck by the sheer volumes of “rich tapestry of life” that appear in my immediate world. In my commuting days some seemed gob-smacked at the sheer number of – how shall I put it gently? – weird and wonderful Neanderthals that flung themselves into my path.
The impression that can come across is that there is an unusually high, statistically improbable and suspiciously convenient number of characters in my life that, had he been alive today, Dickens himself would be jealous of.
Not the case.
Yes I do love a good proper English pint in the local beerhole and yes the Duke of Wellington, Old Bell Tavern and Fox & Hound do have their fair share of Dickensian characters, but it is all about observation.
Observational humour is my niche.
I’ll admit, some of us are naturally more observational, more sensitive to detail, better at retaining sensual information from a scene and so on. But to a certain extent that is what finding and working in your niche is all about. My focus is working within that niche and developing my skills.
The reason I spotted an old man meticulously inspecting his pint with a magnifying glass (would you believe it?!) was not because I was in the right place at the right time. Hundreds passed through that bar that night. It was because I was looking for the unusual, bizarre, humourous and crazy. I’ve learnt over time that there is always something to pick up on and ultimately write about. This is at the back of my mind every time I visit a pub, ride a bus, queue at the post office. I observe with intent. Always. Constantly.
Why tell you this? Why embark on a seemingly self-indulgent rant? Mo sits in pubs and writes about weirdos. So what?
Find your niche, your speciality, your stream, and run with it. I’m probably preaching to the converted here. But what do you think? How do you work with and develop the skills you use in life, work or blog?
Concentrate on what you do best and run with it. Give those skills the room they need to thrive.
Mo is a software developer, late twenties. Lives in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, with his wife and young daughter. Writer of the blog Mo “Mad Dog” Stoneskin, a wacky take on the world with a focus on observational humour, people-watching and literary quality. He loves nothing more than to sit in a pub with a pen and paper, sipping a strong dark beer and capturing life’s humour, richness and colour.