Writing a Perfect Funny Piece if You Are a Slow Writer with ADD
Writers are ALWAYS publishing essays, and even books, about how to write. I’m not going to do that – well, at least not this time. I don’t know what I might do tomorrow, let alone a year or two from now.
Instead, I would like to share with you my own personal habits when writing a short piece, such as a humor essay or a short-short story. I am not about to advise anyone else to do things this way. You see, I am not what you would call a naturally prolific writer. I write the same way I read – slowly. And oh yes, I have a mild case of Attention Deficit Disorder, in addition to genetically inherited long-term low-grade Depression. These things make trying to do anything complicated even more complicated, if you know what I mean. So please don’t use me as a literary role model.
This is what usually happens with me when I’m trying to write a short piece, in more or less this order. By the way, I love to exaggerate when I write humor. Just saying.
|My Ideal Reader|
Get a good idea
Decide the idea is stupid. Try to think of another idea.
Go out for a walk and pay attention to everything around you, hoping something interesting will happen and that it will be something you can write about.
Surf the Internet for ideas.
Give up for now, sit down, put your feet up on an ottoman and close your eyes.
A brilliant idea pops into your head.
Spend the next hour thinking of ways to make that idea really funny, while watching TV at the same time.
The next day, think about it again several times and come up with more funny stuff.
Sit down at the computer. Start to write. After a few paragraphs, stop and think up a title. Try a few titles. Find one that would attract YOU if you were a reader. Use it.
Write some more.
Read what you have written. Yuck! It’s awful. So is the title, which you immediately scrap, even though you have saved the piece on your computer under that title.
Do some severe cutting, pasting, adding and editing. Take a couple of hours to do this, even though the piece is only supposed to be about 500 words long. Make up a new, much funnier title.
Get tired of doing this. Save your work and set it aside.
The next day, read it again. It’s better than it was, but still not the Thurber Prize material you hoped for.
Do some more cutting, pasting, adding and editing.
Read it again. Decide that’s as good as it’s going to get.
Look in the ever growing stash of stock photos on your portable hard drive. Choose one that more or less illustrates the masterpiece you have just written, or that at least would be a funny addition.
Post your masterpiece, with the illustration, online. Post links on Facebook, Twitter and every other place you can think of, and hope you get some readers. If anyone likes your work, feel flattered. If it doesn’t get much attention, threaten your computer with a fist, mutter a few words your mother never taught you and eat two double-chocolate muffins.