August 20, 2012

The Summer Series - Ilana Wiles

My guest today is author of the popular blog Mommy Shorts. Known for her humor, her adorable toddler and her creative contests, Ilana shares and celebrates the funny side of parenting. And we all know how important it is to laugh on this journey called motherhood!

Any writer will tell you humor is tricky. It's hard to do well and doesn't always translate the way you intend it to. I asked Ilana to share a little bit about how and why it works so well for her...


You've chosen to share your parenting experiences primarily using humor. Does that come naturally to you?

How I write is how I think. It's not necessarily what you would think is going on in my head if we had a conversation but I've always been much better at expressing myself on paper. Plus writing with humor allows me to go off on tangents, add pop culture references, tell my true feelings about parenting under the guise of sarcasm, etc. I mean— I LOVE BEING A PARENT!!!! (Just not every second.)

It is often said humor is subjective. And hardest to do well in writing. Do you find that to be so? 

Yes, I would say that not everybody has the same sense of humor. But if people don't find my stories or the way I tell them amusing, then they shouldn't read my blog. My style is always the same. I think if someone doesn't usually write humor, then it may be difficult for them to go there, but that's where I go naturally. It's actually much harder for me to write an earnest heartfelt blogpost. Or one that takes on a serious issue. Those are the posts I stress over most. Otherwise, I write what I think is funny and then it's up to the readers to decide if they want to go there with me or not.

Have people responded to your blog the way you expected? 

In general, people are are a lot more positive than I expected. Sometimes, I get scared about posting something too racy or edgy or weird but the response to those posts are always the greatest. I don't get a lot of people reading my blog who aren't there intentionally, so there isn't a lot of parenting criticism or uptight responses. The more the blog grows, the more I am surprised by how many people relate to my take on things. Not everybody wants to read about how wonderful motherhood is when they are having a bad day or how hard it is to be a parent when they need a pick me up. It's much more fun to take on the difficulties of parenthood in a humorous manner. Because motherhood is nothing if not entertaining.

Your personal blog has led to other opportunities. What has that been like? 

It's mainly led to writing on blogs besides my own, which presents its own set of challenges. For each new site, I have to find my voice there and it's always different. What might be acceptable to my readers, might not go over with a larger more mainstream audience. It's also sometimes hard to figure out what I should put on a conglomerate blog and what I should keep for my own. Part of me wants all my stories about my daughter in one place. But blogging elsewhere opens up even more opportunities, increases exposure and PAYS. 

Now that you are expecting a second child, what changes do you anticipate for your site? 

Well, I started by thinking it would be great for the blog since pregnancy and a newborn were something new to write about. But reality has set in and I realize it's going to be really difficult. I'm just not going to have the kind of time I do now. And I have so little time as it is. 

I know my readers can all relate to that, Ilana! Thank you for participating in my series. Can't wait to "meet" your new little girl this November!


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