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12:46 p.m. - November 06, 2006
Finding Your Way As a Guest
I've done this guest gig a couple times before, and both times, had a sneaking suspicion that I was the only person who enjoyed it.

It reminds me a bit of back in the day when Joan Rivers sat in for Carson. We still watched the show, but we couldn't wait for good ol' Johnny to get back. Then Rivers grabbed her own talk show and we all groaned. Didn't she know we were only being polite?

It's a tough spot to be in, this guest poster seat. People who haven't yet been the Joan Rivers guest host might think it's easy. But really, it's a multi-phased process and each phase must be tended to with great care lest the whole thing blow up in your face.

The Asking

Sometimes there are hints from the blogger that he/she is about to pop the question.

Example: "You should be a guest on my blog sometime!"

Other signs the blogger is about to approach you for an entry include:

  • He/she invites you to meet their family & friends.
  • He/she has been uncharacteristically frugal.
  • He/she has been talking a lot about the future & includes you in the plans.

In the instance with Smed, there were no warning signs. I hadn't the faintest clue he was contemplating a series of guest entries or that he might pick me!

After I recovered from shock and took a lot of pictures of my face smooshed up against the email on the monitor (Mom & Dad would be crushed if I failed to capture the moment)I moved on to the next step of the typical guest entry process.

Responding to the Invitation

For me personally, this is a crucial step. Everyone has their own unique response preparation and/or workout. Whatever you choose to do during this time is normal and healthy as long as you aren't hurting anyone.

So, the invitation is out there and I begin the response stage by first asking myself a question:

"Can I think of something to write about?"

I mull that over for about 3.2 seconds. The answer is usually, "Maybe."

Next question: "Should I think of something to write about before I respond in the affirmative?"

Answer: "Nahh."

I then hastily zip off a cool "yes" reply, making sure to allude to the fact that I feel unworthy of such an honor, but also am quite careful not to overdo the I'm-not-worthy tone lest the blogger trusts my judgment too much & regrets asking me.

When replying, don't forget to take the individual you are dealing with into consideration. In the case of Smed, my response had to be carefully crafted so as to assure him he wouldn't have a crackpot entry on his blog. However, I also included a humble sentence or two in the case that I do leave a crackpot entry on his blog.

I have been known to treat my own blog like a threadbare dish rag. I use it to mop up whatever brain sludge is clunking around and neglect it, without guilt, for (sometimes) weeks at a time. Smed on the other hand takes very good care of his blog. So, one can see how the reply to the invitation must be presented with great care and finesse. Think: Martha Stewart, only without the jail time.

Preparing for the Big Day

As the guest blogging day draws near, it's normal to become ridiculously excited. It's common to celebrate beforehand, but be aware that friends and family may expect to be included in the festivities. However you decide to celebrate is fine, but plan carefully if you are on a budget. Make the decision now as to whether you will have a post-celebration in addition to a pre-celebration.

If during the reply stage you failed to fast, meditate, pace the floor and get in touch with your inner blogger, now would be the time. Don't forget to scribble your ideas for the guest entry on scrap pieces of paper you will never find later. Do a lot of research--it's fun to say that you researched something. Try it!

If the host blogger is away on serious family business, do not call, email or text him or her with your bazillion concerns over the details. The host doesn't care. The blog is -not- that important. Besides, you've done your soul cleansing & become one with the essence of blog--what could go wrong?

What About Your Own Blog?

Should you abstain from writing so as to save your energy for the big day?

Whatever decision is made regarding the care of your blog during this guest period is normal and healthy as long as you aren't hurting anyone.

If during preparations your brain juices begin to flow copiously, your blog is an excellent place to dump the distractions. Some may worry about the possibility of increased traffic at home base as a result of the guest entry. Don't put too much energy into this concern. Attempting to do a blog makeover and a guest entry at the same time is much too stressful. Spreading yourself too thin might result in making decisions you regret. For example, under the pressure of dressing up your blog for new readers, you might make the mistake of choosing a new template that reminds you of Pepto Bismol.

Focus your energy on the guest entry and return home with a refreshed and renewed spirit!

Final Thoughts

Whatever you choose to write about is normal and healthy, as long as you aren't hurting anyone. However, there is one exception: Don't pretend to be an expert on your chosen topic and write an advice column in a generic magazine style. It's so overdone.


Dandydandy blogs semi-regularly at Diaryland while her six kids terrorize her home with stinky, dirty socks and milk left out to sour. Dandy's blog has recently been turned into a blob of pink bubble gum, but she swears it's completely unrelated to any guest entry gigs.


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