I know they’re important. Really important. I get it.
Maybe I hate it because I’m not good at it.
But where does one go to get feedback or training on title-writing?
The only training I’ve had has talked about titles as a means of getting clicks (“Use numbers! Five ways to write great headlines!”), and I guess that’s part of it, but really, I just want a solid title that piques curiosity in people who sift past clickbait.
I’m not selling anything (including ads, etc.), so it’s just a matter of sharing. I take time to write, I think it’s generally interesting, and I’d like people to read (and maybe reply! I’d love to be able to spark conversations!).
Thousands of people? Not necessarily. (That feels stressful, but maybe it would be OK.)
Only my biggest fans are going to click through and read if the title is crap.
It’s like when Dustin Hoffman realized that he had been dismissing potentially interesting women because of how they looked. (See that interview clip here.)
So. As with many things, I do my best, and people click or they don’t, and on we go.
Saturday last weekend, I was at a funeral for the husband of a coworker.
I know this coworker strictly at work. We’ve never talked about life outside the building; we’re not connected through any social media.
During the service, they played a slideshow, trying to capture this man’s life. (Can you ever really capture it?) They were married a long time, so, as expected, she was in quite a few of the photos.
It was neat to see her “other life,” to see a little bit of who she is when she’s not at work. (Or who she is when she’s at work, because it’s all different sides of the same person…)
A few times, I’ve shared a “share a random fact about yourself” thing on Facebook, and I’ve learned things about my friends that I didn’t know. Not just the people who I don’t really know anyway, but people who I’m friends with offline, talk to often, etc. Some of them were surprising.
I’m sure there are things about me that people would be surprised to learn. I don’t know what those things are, because they’re really more about other people’s perception of me. (Just like my surprise was based on my perception.)
But this “hidden side” — sometimes hidden intentionally, sometimes legitimately just never came up — is what is so interesting about hearing people’s stories. Even people who I’ve known a long time. There are always more interesting things lurking. Often things that the owners don’t see as interesting. It’s just a matter of finding them. Which I’m not at all good at. But I often like listening, so there’s that. Now just to get better at asking the right questions…
For a long time, peanut brittle was one of my favorites. And it was an infrequent treat, which made it even more delightful.
It’s been years, maybe decades, since I had peanut brittle.
There was some at work the other day.
I took a piece. Or two…
And you know what? It wasn’t that delicious.
I relayed this story to a friend who reacted with sadness, but no! It’s not sad at all!
Peanut brittle is crap. It’s (formerly) tasty crap, but it’s still crap.
And now, if it shows up in the teachers’ lounge again, I won’t have to expend any energy to pass it by, because it’s not delicious.
It’s not the first time this has happened, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. The list of things that are no longer delicious just got one thing longer.
And yes, there have been a few things that I had for the first time in years and yes, they were still amazing. (A cream doughnut from McMillan’s Bakery immediately comes to mind. Only ate a couple of bites but YUM.)
But it’s OK to let your taste buds get pickier about junk food. Your body will thank you for it.
The Kid is learning to read. I mean, he’s in the years-long process of learning to read.
He loves to read.
Part of that is that he reads things that are interesting to him. It doesn’t have to be books. It doesn’t have to be at his reading level. Whatever is interesting.
Sometimes, he likes to read his old picture books. (The words in those are not always easy to read, since they’re generally intended to be read out loud by a competent reader. Even when they are easy, he enjoys them.
Sometimes, he reads LEGO magazines.
Sometimes, he reads chapter books.
Right now, he’s reading a Minecraft graphic novel. I believe he’s read it in its entirety three times since acquiring it less than a week ago.
Reading is reading. It’s all practice. It’s all building skills, building habits, nurturing a love of reading.
I remember overhearing a conversation years ago between two moms. One’s son was only interested in reading comic books. She forced him to read “real books” before he was allowed to read comic books. They weren’t school-assigned; she just didn’t think comic books “counted” as reading.
There are words, sentences. There’s a story. There are characters.
It counts. It all counts.
Reading is reading.