© 2016 Jeanie Jacobson
Many writers experience a middle-of-the-night phenomenon. Sleep deprivation kicks in and transports them to the land of GOZ, the Giggly Overtired Zone. This becomes especially prevalent during National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo. That’s the yearly event in which crazed writers frantically squeeze 50,000 words out of their brains and into novel form in just thirty days.
I took a 3:00 a.m. trip to GOZ during last year’s NoNoWriMo and wrote to bestselling author Deeanne Gist. “Grrr! Why did you give out free copies of your latest book? Instead of working on my novel, I’m reading yours!” My GOZ-inspired ramblings filled the message.
The next morning, evil flying monkeys directed my bleary gaze to Deeanne’s email reply. My Cowardly Lion paws shook as I clicked open her message. To my great relief, her cheery response said, “Ha Ha! I’ve been there.”
Deeanne was gracious, but overworked, time-crunched editors might not see the humor in your midnight missives. On rereading them, you might not either. Never submit anything from GOZ. Wonderful Wizards don’t inhabit that land. Irate editors do.
So how do we find humor that resonates with our readers? Grab your ruby slippers and follow this yellow brick road of humor writing tips.
Know your audience. Write material appropriate for your readers. Pre-teen girls veer from geriatric jokes faster than the Wicked Witch scurrying from an ocean wave.
Keep it clean. We’re light to the world, so our humor rises above the mud. Sleazy innuendos are easy to write but don’t reflect who we are or the Lord we serve. Even the Scarecrow would agree that’s a no-brainer.
Always be kind. Lighthearted humor is great. Mocking is not. Never take potshots at an individual or group, no matter how ludicrous their message seems. Like the Tin Man, let’s use our hearts and opt for love.
Shed light and hope. Bring light but never make light of difficult situations. Used appropriately, gentle humor softens challenging circumstances like a soft blanket of snow on poppies.
Use inadvertent funnies. Everyday humor swirls around us like a Kansas twister. My friend’s granddaughter wrote a letter to honor her grandmother. In the midst of the heartfelt message, the girl penned, “I hope I inherit your attitude. It reeks wisdom.”
Now you’re ready. Click your heels together three times and bring home a dose of humor to your readers because “A cheerful heart is good medicine” (Proverbs 17:22 NIV).
Jeanie Jacobson is on the leadership team of Wordsowers Christian Writers. Her new book, Fast Fixes for the Christian Pack-Rat: Shame-Free, Blame-Free Help, is available on Amazon. She also enjoys sharing her stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul and is currently published in eight releases. Jeanie loves visiting family and friends, reading, hiking, praise dancing, gardening, and of course, organizing. Connect with her on her website or Facebook page.