Personal Development By Writing Humor

Watch for our monthly humor-writing contest.  We’ll announce our next one on May 1.  Two weeks ago, I recommended a cartoon caption writing contest sponsored by the New Yorker Magazine.  But you’re thinking, “I’m not interested in writing jokes or captions for cartoons!”  Maybe not.  I have no desire to be doing either of those activities professionally.  But I love entering humor-writing contests because it helps me sharpen my skills. 

Here’s how humor writing contests can help you be more successful in life:

1.  Become a better speaker. With my practice of writing weekly cartoon captions for my Toastmaster club newsletter two years ago, I know that when I am challenged to speak to a group, that I can almost always come up with three or four pieces of fresh observational humor to brighten my talk.  The caption writing helped me to see and create humorous connections, a core humor skill.  When I sit in the audience, before I’m introduced to speak, I’m constantly looking for humorous connections to open my talk.  Your humor muscles get stronger only by using them.  That’s a key reason to enter a contest.

2.  Enrich your social life.  When you tell people you entered a humor contest, they’ll laugh!  But seriously, people love to be around someone with a good sense of humor.  The contests help you achieve that better sense of humor.  And maybe you’ll get your friends hooked on the contests too.

3.  Boost your career.  You’ve heard the joke, “No wife has ever shot her husband while he was doing the dishes.”  Maybe nobody ever fired someone who was making them laugh.  But I do know that people like and trust someone with a good sense of humor.  Humor is also an asset at a job interview.  It empowers you as a co-worker and a leader.  A sense of humor is definitely a career builder that is sharpened by writing the captions.

4.  Win the lotto.  Well, maybe not.  But at least you’ll be able to laugh when you lose.

5.  Reduce your stress.  As you sharpen your sense of humor you’ll be better able to diffuse tense situations with humor.  The essential skill of humor is having the ability to look at things in a different way.  When ever you’re faced with a tension-causing situation, you’re almost always in need of a fresh approach, in need of doing something differently.  Strong humor skills provide the ability to break out of stressful patterns.

6.  And who knows.   In time, maybe you’ll become a professional humor writer.  Watching today’s sitcoms makes it quite clear that Hollywood is desperate for great writers.  If that’s your interest…go for it!

7.  Tomorrow, watch for 19 Ideas For Writing Funny Cartoon Captions.