NEWSLETTERS 101 #14: Share the Laughter

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    This post is by Luann Udell, regular contributing author for FineArtViews. She's blogged since 2002 about the business side--and the spiritual inside--of art. She says, "I share my experiences so you won't have to make ALL the same mistakes I did...."  For ten years, Luann also wrote a column ("Craft Matters") for The Crafts Report magazine (a monthly business resource for the crafts professional) where she explored the funnier side of her life in craft. She's a double-juried member of the prestigious League of New Hampshire Craftsmen (fiber & art jewelry). Her work has appeared in books, magazines, and newspapers across the country and she is a published writer.


    Now more than ever, we need the giggle moment!

    (4 minute read)

     

    In last week’s article, I segued from this series, but we’re not done yet. Also, I just realized I didn’t number the most recent one, because it was #13. (Seriously, I just forgot.) I shared how Apollo 13 insights can work for us during a pandemic.

     

    This week, in creating your email newsletter, consider sharing a funny moment.

     

    I’m betting some of you are thinking, “What??” right now.

     

    Humor has been with us a very long time. It’s in the Bible! (This article has some good ideas for creating humor, too.) Comedy is its own creative category, for very good reasons. It eases tension, it’s good for our body and brain, and it creates connection in a deep way.

     

    Caveat: Do not turn a joke on a visitor.

     

    Normally, when interacting with visitors and customers, I advise makers not to make jokes at their visitors’ expense.

     

    One example: If a visitor asks, “How long did it take you to make that?” The response should not be, “It’s taken me 30 years!” Yeah, I know it’s illuminating that we have been perfecting our skills since forever. But as a person who’s been the butt of such “jokes” when visiting artists and craftsmen, let me tell you, I’m giggling out of embarrassment. You just embarrassed me in front of other people when I was trying to have a conversation with you.  That damaged whatever connection I was seeking with you. And here’s why making fun of a stupid question is the worst tactic you can take when forming connections with potential new customers.

     

    There are plenty of ways to share a funny moment without denigrating someone/anyone else.

     

    Make it about yourself, in a way that lets others know, “Hey, me too!”

     

    I posted on Facebook a week ago, because I realized I’m so befuddled by our “new normal”, I wore my slippers to work one day. It got quite a few “likes”, and many people confirmed that this (or something similar) has happened to them, too. I felt better, and other people did, too.

     

    To repeat: This isn’t about sharing “how stupid I am”. It’s about sharing, “I’m human, too.”

     

    Make it about your profession/genre.

     

    One of my The Crafts Report columns was about t-shirts for creatives. Now I can’t find it, but while looking for creative genre jokes, I found plenty more. Try it! For my critics, here’s one for you:

     

    What do you call a writer who doesn't follow the rules of sentence structure?

     

     A rebel without a clause.

     

    Make it about your silly pet(s).

    Barbara's Gramuglia's pic of patriotic chipmunks makes me laugh every time I see it!

     

    Most people like a good animal story, especially if your pet(s) accompany you in your studio. I had a rabbit in my Keene NH studio, and Bunster provided me with many funny stories, and a few powerful ones, too.

     

    A friend back in Vermont has a mother chipmunk who’s befriended her. She sent me a delightful pic of a staged photo she took of them, after she planted a small American flag near their hole on the 4th of July.

     

    ...Barbara's Gramuglia's pic of patriotic chipmunks makes me laugh every time I see it!

     

    The best thing about email newsletters is, if you don’t have a story, you can share a pic, even a video of your silly pet stuff.

     

    Find a good pun, or joke.

     

    Two folks in our neighborhood have been posting signs or posts on NextDoor, like “What do you get when you drop a pumpkin? SQUASH” or “I remember being able to get up without making sound effects.”

     

    Silly? Yep. Professional? Depends. Yes, some people will feel uncomfortable getting up close and silly. If it’s not for you, skip it. Stick with more formal topics, like the award you got last year at a show.

     

    But if, like me, your relationship with your audience is deep but also feels ‘personal’, they will love seeing your shiny moments, too.

     

    These were both hugely popular posts on NextDoor. They are another form of creativity, they were not divisive (unless you believe squash is belittled by being depicted as a broken version of a pumpkin), and they achieve something powerful in these dark times: A moment of laughter, from all of us.

     

    Still not convinced? Maybe science and history will help.

     

    Humor has been with us a very long time. It’s in the Bible! (This article has some good ideas for creating humor, too.) Comedy is its own creative category, for very good reasons. It eases tension, it’s good for our body and brain, and it creates connection in a deep way.

     

    Last, (and to repeat):

     

    Be kind.

     

    Remember the FASO motto, which is actually embedded in its newsletter templates: “…and always treat everyone with dignity and respect.”

     

    Choose connection over cruelty, to any person or group. Choose joy over anger. Choose laughter over fear.

     

    Choose to be a force for good in the world.

     

    As always, if you’ve done this yourself, sharing a funny moment/story/pet moment, share it in the comments! I got so distracted by all the funny things I found while searching for examples, I’m sure I left out some great suggestions. What’s worked for you?

     

    If you enjoyed this article, share it! Link back to it here on Fine Art Views, or my blog at luannudell.wordpress.com.

     

    If someone shared this article with you, and you'd like to read more in this series, visit my articles at FineArtViews.com.






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