One of the hardest parts of writing is knowing how to “write funny”. Unless you’re writing scientific articles for a medical journal, you’ve probably tried writing in a humorous manner in the past. If you have, you know how hard it can be. Writing material that’s funny is much harder than just being funny in conversation. One of the reasons for that fact is the way humor is conveyed – when you’re speaking, you can make expressions, use voices that lend effect to your jokes, or pause at appropriate times. When you’re writing, you can’t do any of that. Your reader will read it at the pace he wants, in the way he wants, in whatever voice he hears in his head – so being funny in writing is no easy thing.
However, there is one huge caveat – the basic rules of humor stay the same. What people find funny, at a very basic level, is still the unexpected. In addition, people are amused by things they can relate to. Keep these facts in mind, and try to write accordingly – the humor in writing is less about making the right faces at the right times, and more about knowing how to address your reader in a way he can relate to.
Finally, and most importantly, the number one rule of being funny always holds true – be yourself. Your jokes should be things you find funny, not funny things you’ve heard others say. For example, my sense of humor is very word-oriented. I love puns and wordplay, taking a word and using an alternate meaning for it to change the structure of a sentence. I could talk about two people having a fruit drink, when they notice that the juice is nearly done. Thinking quickly, one of them quickly snatches his cup and fills it to the brim, beating him to the punch. So when I write, that’s my brand of “writing funny”.
English: I can’t vandalize… …but I have got a sense of humor! Upper Bilson Street, Cinderford. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Give it a little thought. Decide what kind of humor you would write best and see how you can fit it in. Write in whatever way best suits your nature, and make your nature your friend. Your nature-ally, as it were.
You know those times when you really get into the zone and just write for hours, and it just flows? When you don’t even think about it and you just produce paragraphs? It doesn’t come often to most people, but when you do manage to get into that state, it’s the best feeling in the world.
Each person is different, of course, and what works for one does not necessarily work for anyone else, but sometimes getting into the zone can be nothing more than a matter of putting together the right circumstances. I just had one those amazing “in the zone” writing sessions, so I’ll try to recreate the experience.
I’ve found myself writing in the strangest places and times, so when someone said they were driving to the beach this morning, I picked up my computer and got in the car. The weather’s pretty hot, so the beach was crowded. My friend went to the beach, and I went in search of a quiet place to work. There’s a wave-breaker surrounding the coast of the beach where I was at, so I walked along that. The wave-breaker consists of a few hundred two-ton cement blocks in weird, intertwining shapes, with a lighthouse at the very end of the pier. That’s where I sat. I climbed down the cement blocks, and found myself a comfortable position.
The sea was running a little high, so the waves sprayed a fine mist with each crash. Once in a while the water got all the way up to where I was sitting. The sun was baking down, and I was encased in a salty, briny sea-smell. You wouldn’t think that any writing could get done in a place like that. But it was perfect. I ended up sitting in that exact position for about five hours. In one sitting, I wrote three chapter of a book and an article. It was an amazing feeling.
Flagler Beach (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Sometimes, getting out your comfort zone can be the best thing to give your muse a little nudge. If you move out of your box, it can help you think out of the box. And it can also help you learn a little more about what helps you write. I know for a fact that I’ll be heading out to write in nature a little more often, just because I felt how awesome it was. So give it a try. Write in a place you’ve never written before. In a forest, at the beach, at the top of a mountain. Go somewhere else to write, and watch your writing go somewhere it’s never gone before.