Dorothy Rosby graduated from using humor in her public speaking, to writing humorous syndicated newspaper columns to publishing humorous books, and she is still bringing a smile to people’s faces!
What’s your story?
For years, I’ve been a member of Toastmasters, an organization where members practice their public speaking skills. I’ve always loved doing humorous speeches and I’ve won some humorous speaking contests. Eventually, I typed up some of my humorous speeches in column format and pitched the idea of a humor column to my local newspaper. The editor agreed. After I had a few published columns, I started marketing it to other newspapers mainly in the West and Midwest. My column now runs in publications in ten states. I’ve also published three books of humorous essays and am working on a fourth.
What excites you most about your industry?
I realized long ago that while I write a newspaper column, what I actually sell is humor. What excites me most about that is that there are so many avenues for me to publish it these days. Along with my newspapers, I write humor for three magazines, my blog, another regional blog and Medium. I’ve also written three books and am active on Twitter and Facebook.
What drives you in business to push beyond what other people consider normal?
Long ago, I went from seeing humor as my hobby to seeing it as my calling, my gift. When you see what you do that way, you sacrifice a great deal to pursue it.
What have been the most useful skills you have learnt and applied in your journey?
Along with the requisite basic writing skills one needs to pursue this line of work, I credit the marketing, sales and public relations skills I learned in previous careers with helping me grow my business. I’ll also be forever grateful that I joined a Toastmaster club years ago. Public speaking skills are vital in any business, and for me it goes beyond that. I practice my columns as speeches to my fellow long-suffering club members. They provide so much helpful feedback.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
I’ve heard this advice from various sources in various forms many times, and I still need the reminder: Don’t let rejection stop you. You can pout now and then. You can fall into despair for a day or so. But you can never give up. Writers get rejections. And if they don’t get rejections, they’re probably not submitting enough. Writers—and probably all entrepreneurs—must have the unshakeable belief that they’re good and getting better no matter who says otherwise. We should all learn what can be learned from criticism and move on.
Who inspires you?
I’m most inspired by people who find their gift, whatever it is, develop it and use it fully for good. I belong to several writer’s groups where I regularly come in contact with writers who do just that. Suzette Martinez Standring, Bonnie Jean Feldkamp and Mary C. Curtis are just a few of the writers I admire.
What have you learnt recently that blew you away?
That I’m more accomplished than I give myself credit for. I’ve been attending national writer’s conferences for years. And I’ve met many writers from urban areas. And whether they mean to or not, they often add to my already-present “small town, fly-over country” self-esteem issue. (I live in South Dakota.) But I recently served on a panel at the National Society of Columnists conference with two columnists/authors I greatly admire. They both assured me that what I’ve accomplished as a columnist is not only pretty amazing, but is also something other people at the conference definitely wanted to hear about.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would have recognized my gift sooner. I won my first humorous speaking contest nine years before I started writing my humor column. I’d love to have that time back.
How do you unwind?
I live in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota and my husband and I love to camp and hike here. We also love to dance. We’ve even taken some lessons, though you can’t tell by watching us dance. I read a variety of books, but my favorite genre is mystery. I LOVE a good mystery.
What is a major mindset change, belief shift or ‘ah ha’ moment that you’ve experienced in relation to your business?
As a humor writer, I’ve often felt like what I do is trivial and unimportant. But throughout the pandemic, I continued to receive positive responses from readers. And at some point, I realized that it’s not only possible to laugh during hard times, it’s imperative. Laughter refreshes us, strengthens us and helps us carry on. I’m thrilled to be able to provide that for people.
Everyone in business should read this book:
Six Degrees to Your Dreams by Laura Handke
Shameless plug for your business:
I’m the author of three books of humorous essays including “I Used to Think I Was Not That Bad and Then I Got to Know Me Better,” “Alexa’s a Spy and Other Things to Be Ticked off About, Humorous Essays on the Hassles of Our Time” and “I Didn’t Know You Could Make Birthday Cake from Scratch, Parenting Blunders from Cradle to Empty Nest.” They’re all available on Amazon or through your favorite bookstore. I’m working on a fourth and hoping to give it a shorter title.
How can people connect with you?
Social Media Links?
This interview is part of the CallumConnects series.