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Thursday, September 29, 2005


The Lucky Winner

My fifth, and final, column is now up at the San Diego Reader. I kind of wrap things up on the whole stay-at-home dad experience with a few thoughts on memories and being a good father.

Now that my stint as a magazine columnist is over, I can finally reveal my incredulity at the whole situation. When the editor first contacted me, my reaction was, "You want to pay me what?! For what?!" I am not a writer (you all knew that already). I've had a bit of training in radio news and business writing, but the key concept I learned was to keep it short and simple. No big words, no descriptions... Get to the point, quick! I had a professor in college who would read our work and, no matter how short it was, throw it back at us demanding that it be leaner. Dr. Del Mar, wherever you are, thanks for making me feel guilty about writing too many words.

And that was the problem with The Reader... They wanted something in the neighborhood of 800 to 900 words and I usually average about 200 to 300 words with my blog posts. I was able to cobble together some thoughts from previous posts and expand upon them, but trying to come up with original material that was actually long enough was not easy for me. I kept hearing Dr. Del Mar telling me, "If you can't get your point across in two sentences, then don't bother!"

But I got through it, and I think one or two of my columns made some sense. I still had to wonder why exactly the editor chose me, of all the millions of bloggers out there, to reward with a nice little payday. I knew it wasn't my writing ability that attracted her to my blog. She finally told me that they had been looking for a stay-at-home dad to feature. She must not have looked very hard, I thought. There are dad bloggers out there who are a lot more literate, funny, creative, clever, serious, and analytical than me. I'm also nowhere near being as hip, cool, or up-to-date as some of the popular dad blogs.

So why the heck did she pick me? Ahhh, they were trying to kill two birds with one stone. They wanted a blogger from Idaho. Seeing as how I'm the only stay-at-home dad blogger in the entire state of Idaho (that I know of)... Ding ding ding! I was the lucky winner.

After a lifetime of being the odd man out, last player picked, third wheel, etc., it sure felt good to actually be wanted for something, even if I was the only choice available. I hope somebody enjoyed my writing... It was an interesting experience, and a good exercise for my brain. Now I can sit back and relax, knowing that this kind of thing will probably never ever happen to me again.


Blogger landismom said...

Congrats on being a stay-at-home-dad!

Great post. I know that when I got the email from the Reader, I was convinced the whole thing was a big scam, up until the day the first check arrived. Not sure what I thought the basis of the scam could be, but it just seemed too weird that someone would pay for my ceaseless ramblings. (I had the opposite problem with the length requirement.)

7:45 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Sounds like a blast! Color me green. I think you should give yourself more credit though. Your writing is good. You're interesting without being pushy. A natural humor instead of a trying too hard to be funny (as I am often victim of).

so where can we read what you wrote?

9:11 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Heh, nevermind. I'm an idiot. I didn't see the link at the top.

9:12 AM  
Blogger stebbijo said...

Don't sell yourself short! I would be thrilled to get an offer like that! I try to keep things short and snappy and uncomplicated!

BTW -- Phill. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! It is the 29th today -- isn't it?

9:19 AM  
Anonymous chip said...

what a great piece! don't sell yourself short, that's really good stuff! Well written, short and to the point... My excuse for the length of my stuff: I'm writing for my kids and they'll read whatever I write when they get older. Bad excuse I know for what is basically just laziness...

11:43 AM  
Blogger ducklet said...

definitely don't sell yourself short. for one, calling out others for their talents is a rare character trait. (thanks, as always, for the compliments)

for another, that last article was very well written, very tight. i remember when La Coquette was recruited for the SDR. you're in good company.

12:00 PM  
Anonymous brettdl said...

I agree with everyone who says don't sell yourself short. Your writing is fantastic and there's no question you're a great dad.

On a separate note: I know what you mean about wanting to be a great dad because of a lack of a father figure. My dad died when I was 9 and my mom never remarried, much less dated much. I just wish I didn't have to work. Uggh.

By the way, thanks for the link!

3:21 PM  
Blogger Kristen said...

I agree with the other comments that your writing is indeed good, natural and you speak with a familiar voice that isn't showy or pretentious. You appeal to a wide audience and the "dad" part of your blog title isn't just vanity talking; we can actually tell that you have kids and enjoy being with them! Keep up the good work!!

4:50 PM  
Blogger KC said...

The only one in all of Idaho? Hehe. How about those crackpot secessionist types? Don't they go to the SAHD meetings? :)

11:01 AM  

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