You know those T-shirts and bumper stickers that you occasionally see around town that say, "Life Is Good"? Well, that's all fine... and good.. but as Axl Rose taught us, "Every rose has its thorn" and, sure enough, every city has its drunken hobo muttering "Life Is Bad." Which is just the type of situation that could inspire Meghan Rowland and Chris Turner Neal to write another masterpiece on their amazingly hilarious blog, 2Birds1Blog. Now, times that by a million and you've got their in-print edition, The Misanthrope's Guide to Life (Go Away!), or what I think makes the perfect Valentine's Day gift for your lover, who might also be a world-class hater. That's right, increase your chances of getting some by wooing that hater over to the light side this Hallmark holiday. It's super romantic and s@#t.
Of course, this isn't just your run-of-the-mill plug (and, of course, in keeping with the theme, that mill I mentioned is now a broken-down eyesore), there's a lesson in here and that is how to make a blog successful enough that publishing houses want to pay you to write books. I caught up with Meg and Chris to get their advice, so you too can ride that cash cow all the way to the slaughterhouse.
Is it possible to have a good blog that doesn't touch on some sort of hatery?
"S@#t, anything's possible. I think it depends what you consider 'hatery.' You don't necessarily need to be on the offensive and having 'blog drama,' but you have to be willing to show negative emotions. Being annoyed, or bitching about work, or making fun of someone you absolutely cannot stand humanizes you. We've all seen those blogs written by someone who just needs to tell the world about her naturally clear skin, her job eating candy in a perfect meadow, and her cute new placemats for fall. Well, fine. But no one has an idea of her as a person. We're the most ourselves when we're unpleasant, and as obnoxious as the phrase is, if you're pursuing 'personal branding' as a blogger you have to let a little piss and vinegar show or you're just not interesting."
On that note, what are common blog don'ts in your opinions?
"Lifestyle/style blogs, in general. You have a fiancée and a pug and your high, messy bun always looks effortless -- good for you. Now stop rubbing it in our faces with s@#tty Instagram photos and a blog that inevitably has "cupcake", "diva" or "bliss" somewhere in the title.
OK... And while I make a mental note to cancel my Cupcake Bliss Diva Tumblr account, one last thing about what to do, opposed to what not to do: What are three things you check for before you push publish:
"In terms of mechanics, check 'their, they're, there' and 'its, it's.' You will be reminded of the rules if you space out and balls those up. In terms of content, it's anybody's game. People will think the thing you did in 20 minutes while watching Star Trek is the funniest thing since Andrew Dice Clay slipped on a banana peel, and the thing you spent six hours on is as boring as a saltine sandwich. People will be offended if you call someone a doo-doo head, but not by a list of a dozen abortion-themed knock-knock jokes. You can't predict it."
In that case, I think maybe I can make my Cupcake Bliss Diva Tumblr work. I have this great bit about Mr. Dice Clay walking into Georgetown Cupcakes...
Or maybe not. That story ends pretty predictably with him being like, "These delicious cupcakes are as [redacted] as your grandma's [redacted] that I tasted at a potluck in 1982 when I [redacted] [redacted] the [redacted] out of that [redacted] [redacted] [redacted]. Ba-da-bing!" (All my ADC stories also happen to be Mad-Libs.) So instead, I'll just wait for Chris and Meg's next two books. The first, It Seemed Like a Good Idea..., comes out in May. "It's hard to explain," they said. "Basically, imagine that we wrote 101 short treatments for 'Butterfly Effect 3: The LOLening.'" Second up is a 2Birds1Blog edition of the bible, in "which everyone is constantly saying, 'And for my next miracle, I'm going to turn beer into water.'" *cue drunk hobo* Life is bad.
But as long as its hilarious, we shall carry on.