Creativity with a Smile
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.
By Monica Di Santi
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. Paging
comics, reading funny captions, and writing your own jokes will help you relax
and produce a good piece of writing.
What is laughter?
Laughter is a psychological response to humor that brings you physical and
mental benefits, and sharing a joke produces an immediate social bond, showing
you feel comfortable in that environment.
Scientists believe laughter makes you healthier because it lowers the blood
pressure and increases the oxygenation of the blood. Laughter also provides you
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
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 some techniques as tools 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
You anticipate to the next premise 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
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
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
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. Make 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. To 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. They train you to think about the unexpected and look
at things from different perspectives. Some applications of these procedures
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 get some spare minutes, you can put into practice 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
"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
You won't develop new approaches if you stick to routine. Stop playing safe and
challenge yourself. Write some jokes for fun!
Ignite Your Creative Passion
By Bob Baker, Spotlight Publication, 2000
Interplay: The Process of Interpersonal Communication
By Adler, Rosenfeld and Towne
Published by Holt, Rinehart and Winston
By Flora Davis
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.
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