Judy's MIRTH & MEANING BLOG

Twelve Tips to Write for Laughs

Writing for laughs is seriously hard work, but the payoffs are priceless. If you can make someone laugh with your words (because you intended to, not because your writing is so God-awful they can’t help but spurt coffee out their noses), you’ve done a great thing. You’ve brightened someone’s day, and improved their health, unlike those miserable wretches who make their living by writing traffic citations or delivering subpoenas. Why not try your hand at the humor game? You’ll have fun, and if you don’t have fun, at least you’ll have more appreciation for those who do make you laugh. Here are my twelve tips to make your readers laugh out loud.

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Cliches: Bad for Writing; Better as Philosophy

I’m always on the lookout for clichés. When I find them slipping into my own writing, I excise them out. Spotting them in my clients’ writing, I suggest alternatives. Too many cliches make for unimaginative writing, but some cliches are so wise and pithy we just cannot do without them. One of them, “Today is a new day,” recently saved my friend Anna from getting dragged back into an old dispute.

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President Obama’s First Yom Kippur

President Obama isn’t much of a church-goer, having dropped that practice after moving from Chicago, but he does take time to publicly commemorate various religious holidays in the White House. Mr. Obama has koshered the White House kitchen for Hanukkah celebrations and hosts annual Passover seders, complete with gefilte fish and matzo ball soup. He hosts Iftar dinners in the State Room for Ramadan. Naturally, he and the First Lady light the White House Christmas tree and host the Easter Egg Roll.

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Don’t Stay Stuck This Rosh HaShana, Honey

I once asked a friend of mine, a therapist, what the biggest problem she encountered with her patients was. She answered swiftly. “They stay stuck. They get to a certain point of self-awareness but then cannot move forward.”

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Down by the River

This summer’s vacation yielded a delightful surprise: My husband and I realized that we were capable of taking some remarkably good photographs, especially if we aimed straight and steady at some of God’s most luxuriant scenery. My iPhone 5 camera and my husband’s old but trusty Nikon produced so many wonderful shots that I have a new problem. Having spent many, many hours organizing a slideshow on my Macbook, and even a physical book of our best photos, I’m having a tough time making friends and relatives sit still while I force-feed them our photographic handiwork. This is what you get in the age when attention spans barely exceed that of a 140-character tweet.

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Most Recent Entries

Twelve Tips to Write for Laughs
Cliches: Bad for Writing; Better as Philosophy
President Obama’s First Yom Kippur
Don’t Stay Stuck This Rosh HaShana, Honey
Down by the River
Going Buggy in My Organic Garden
Go Ahead, Boycott This!
The Accidental Matchmaker
How Green Was My Checkbook
Wife Encourages Husband’s Class 4 Adventures; Lives to Regret It

View all past entries →

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