By Monica Di Santi
Humor, which is the ability to find a comic or amusing quality in a situation, action or group of ideas, can help you not only to laugh and have fun, but it can be a great tool to help you harvest new ideas, overcome writer’s block and improve your craft.
To be creative, you have to break routine and take renewed approaches to writing, and one way to do so is to loosen up your mind with humor. Browsing comics, reading funny captions, and writing your own jokes will help you relax and produce a good piece of writing.
What is laughter?
Scientists believe laughter makes you healthier because it lowers blood pressure and increases the oxygenation of our blood. Laughter also provides us with a natural process to cope with hard stressful situations and negative emotions, and it brings you mental comfort and well being. Laughter is associated with play and that’s why children laugh much more than grown-ups.
Laughter is a spontaneous reaction to a comic or absurd situation that is provoked by a real situation or a story you have read, and it’ll make you belly-laugh if you see yourself, your profession, a friend, or a spouse in that ludicrous situation.
How to Write Jokes, Riddles and Tongue Twisters
To unblock your mind, read some jokes and become familiar with them. You’ll relax and open up your mind to creativeness, and if you bear in mind that you should write about what you know, it would be easy to write jokes about your profession, your parenthood, or any area of expertise you have.
There are several ways to write jokes, but you’ll read only a few here, as the purpose of this article is not to instruct you to master the art of writing jokes but to use humor to be more creative.
1. Be unexpected.
When you read a joke, the set-up premise shows you an ordinary situation you are familiar with, and you automatically associate that idea with other logical ideas anticipating what’s coming (this is what you always do when you read), but then you reach the punch line, which makes you relate the first premise to an illogical conclusion or a minor detail you haven’t thought of. For example:
On Monday morning, an editor told his staff writers, “I have good news and bad news. The good news is that we have enough money to publish all the articles.”
You anticipate the next premise by applying your logical thoughts, so you connect bad news with something going wrong in the company, but then you read:
“The bad news is that they (the articles) are still out there in other writers’ minds.”
And this makes you laugh because it surprises you.
2. Play with words.
To write riddles, think of a word related to the writing world — let’s say “reader” — and write down some meanings, synonyms, related ideas and homophones, like “reeder.” Then ask a question whose logical answer is the homophone reeder.
Example: Why do writers enjoy visiting textile factories?
You can’t find a reason why a writer should enjoy going to such a place unless he or she is writing a book about that. So you give up.
The answer is: Because they love to meet the reeders. This word sounds like the original word (reader) and as it is out of context, the joke can make writers smile.
3. Ask a question and think of a ridiculous, goofy answer.
How can a writer beat a writer’s block? The logical answer that comes to your mind is doing something different, going for a walk, paging at different magazines, attending a conference but you never expect an answer such as “With a hammer,” because it’s ridiculous and it’s using the word block in another sense.
4. Trigger people’s curiosity.
Why do writers like to travel? This question intrigues you and you’ll think of logical answers such as visiting exotic places, meeting new people, collecting new idea, experience new situations. Then comes the answer, “Because they get to book the hotel rooms.” The joke plays with the two meanings of the word “book.”
5. Use common information your audience can easily recognize.
“What kind of pain can a writer have?” The question misleads your thoughts as you think about the writer’s body and diseases. Then the answer provides common information all writers will recognize immediately though it’s used out of context: “Rejection-ache.”
6. Create a fun comparison.
A self-published writer behaves like a teen rebel who likes to go his own way, no matter what his parents say.
7. Write a twister; choose two or three words that sound alike and combine them in such a way that the statement you create turns it difficult to say quickly and correctly.
Writers have the right to write about what they think is right to write but after they write, they lose the rights on what they write right away.
Where Can You Use These Techniques?
These techniques help you stretch your brain and reach a playful state of mind, boosting your creativity via humor. They train you to think about the unexpected and look at things from different perspectives. Some applications of these procedures are:
- To brainstorm ideas beyond the logical connections
- To create expectancy and surprise in your text
- To approach a subject from a different point of view
- To create a twist at the end of the story
- To write catchy phrases
- To turn sharp thoughts into inoffensive statements.
These exercises come in little chunks so they can be done any place, any time. So, whenever you have spare minutes, try’these techniques. And as you can go from beginning to end in a short time, it gives you a sense of accomplishment that makes you feel satisfied.
Let’s relax with these jokes for writers:
1. God creates people for free but writers do it for money.
2. Which is the difference between a beginner writer and an established one? The first one doesn’t know whether he has to write “it’s” or “its.” The established one doesn’t care. The editor will check it.
3. A beginner writer says to a friend, “I followed the editor’s advice but my work hasn’t improved at all.”
“What did you do?”
“I wrote ten copies of my work.”
“Ten copies? Was that editor nuts? What did he tell you exactly?”
“Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite.”
4. Many a times a best-seller starts as a bet-seller.
5. “So you got published but not paid?” asked a man to his writer friend.
“Yeah, but I got my first CLIP.”
“A clip? Are you about to open a stationery store?”
6. If you’re a regular person you have a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. job, have a regular pay and pay your bills regularly. If you’re a writer you have regular writer’s block, regular free time, and regular debts.
7. A fan said to the writer who was signing a book, “I love the title of your book. It’s so thought-provoking.” “Thank you,” answered the writer as he thought, “That was the editor’s idea.”
8. When you publish your book with a POD you become a Prisoner Of a Dream.
9. Where do writers go to ski?
To the slush pile.
10. The writer’s husband looks at his empty fridge in dismay, confused because his wife just came back from the market. “Sorry, honey,” she says. “I got writer’s block when I was working on the grocery list.”
You won’t develop new approaches if you stick to routine. Try some humor. Stop playing safe and challenge yourself. Write some jokes for fun!
Bob Baker. Ignite Your Creative Passion. Spotlight Publication, 2000.
By Adler, Rosenfeld and Towne. Interplay: The Process of Interpersonal Communication. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, .
Flora Davis. Non-verbal Communication.
Monica Di Santi has been published by Faces, The Canadian Writer’s Journal, Inkspot, Writing World, the Institute of Children’s Literature, and Working As A Family, among other publications. She’s a full member of the SCBWI