Right Place, Right Time?

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.

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23 Responses to “Right Place, Right Time?”

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  1. Hi Mo,
    I read this in the feed reader first off and was like, “James does observational humour? Since when? What is going on?!” Then I got to your bio and remembered the whole new team writing thing ;)

    Great post. Loved it. Off to check out some musings over at your place because I like your style :)
    .-= Eleanor Edwards´s last blog ..Rethinking Wealth and Prosperity – Community Post from @coblyn =-.

  2. I think you hit the nail on the head here Mo. All too often people look but they don’t see. This is a useful reminder to be present to what’s going on around them. Good post!
    .-= Matthew Needham´s last blog ..How to write an e-book =-.

  3. Shirley says:

    You are so very right, Mo. The best thing to always do is to follow your passion and develop your skills in it :).

    Great article :).
    .-= Shirley´s last blog ..A Comprehensive Guide To Keyword Research Techniques =-.

  4. Eric says:

    It’s definitely worth finding out what your strongest skill set is and running with that. That should take you the farthest because you’re putting the best of yourself out there and letting it go.

    Good article and good message.
    .-= Eric´s last blog ..Twitter Is Powerful When Used Correctly =-.

    • Cheers pal and you’re spot on, putting the best of yourself out there is exactly what we’re talking about. Sometimes it takes a while to discover exactly what that is, but over time, with feedback and experience, it becomes clearer. It probably took me about a year to realise where I’m at my best!
      .-= Mo “Mad Dog” Stoneskin´s last blog ..I’ve never seen a badger move so fast =-.

      • Eric says:

        It’s worth the effort of finding out where your strengths are though. And I believe it takes someone else or something you do to find out what you’re good at. I don’t believe you can really just realise it on your own. Others always are good to help you out and those who aren’t can just go away.
        .-= Eric´s last blog ..Twitter Is Powerful When Used Correctly =-.

  5. Hi Mo!
    I’m super guilty of people-watching and trying to figure out what they’re going to do that I can relate in a blog post. In my opinion, when you can take your everyday experiences, absorb the lessons, and find a way to convey that lesson as it relates to your blog niche is a sign that you truly are in the right niche.
    .-= Kiesha @ We Blog Better´s last blog ..Why your blog matters =-.

  6. I’ve wondered how others do this – relate the result of people-watching into posts that are not particularly focussed on that. I mean, my deal IS people-watching but incorporating it into other niches is interesting and probably requires a lot of skill to do it well.
    .-= Mo “Mad Dog” Stoneskin´s last blog ..I’ve never seen a badger move so fast =-.

  7. Karen says:

    Hi Mo,

    This sort of reminds me of the TV Show “Seinfeld” where they also had observational humour – just funny stuff that they observed and other people didn’t.

    I think that you have to be in that frame of mind to first look around you and secondly to be aware of what funny things human beings are, oh, and thirdly, be able to have enough talent to write about the incidents in a funny manner.

    We need more people that are observant and are able to relate the stories for the rest of us. It seems like everyone can do with a good laugh these days :-)

    Karen
    .-= Karen´s last blog ..How To Use 10-10-10 To Get Unstuck =-.

  8. Julius says:

    I’m more of an ears person, so I gather ideas from stuff that people say. I catch an idea and quickly type it down in my mobile device. This has worked better for me than observing.
    .-= Julius´s last blog ..Why Is Braille on Drive-Through ATMs? =-.

  9. Jazz Salinger says:

    Hi Mo,

    Concentrating on what you do best and run with it seems like such simple advice and yet I seem to have a hard time doing it. I tend to get caught up in all the things I feel like I should be doing.

    I tend to be more of a Jack of All trades and master of none. It makes so much more sense to just focus on what I’m good at and develop those skills.

  10. Hi Mo,

    Your right that some people look rather than seeing. I’ll put my hand up… I’m as guilty as the next person. I think it’s linked with our haste to get to a destination rather than experience the journey. If we make time we can all observe. I like your writing style.

  11. Thanks for the encouragement David and yes, we’re often to hasty, too focussed on the destination.
    .-= Mo “Mad Dog” Stoneskin´s last blog ..I’ve never seen a badger move so fast =-.

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