Much of what we write is serious. News stories, feature articles, newsletters, and press releases should be compelling, but also accurate. Though these are all challenging and rewarding writing projects, sometimes writers, like anyone else, need to let off a little steam, to add a bit of frivolity to the mix. This is not a waste of time. Attempting to write in all different styles stretches you creatively and makes you a more flexible, and overall better, writer. Plus not everything you do needs to be life and death serious. We all enjoy reading humorous pieces and most of us like to be entertained. Skip the sitcoms once in a while and seek out a few opportunities each month that will allow you to express the wacky and witty sides of your personality! Sometimes you can even get paid to do this.
One of my favorite writing assignments is penning theatre reviews. Reviews allow you to speculate, make connections, and interpret characters and their motivations in ways you don’t usually employ when writing for newspapers. They also require you to use all your senses and to be attentive to detail, as they need to include information about the setting, directing, and sound and costume design. Another bonus is that you get to use language in a different ways than you may ordinarily. Words that you haven’t thought of in a long time tend to come out of the closet, adding a dash of spice to your commentary and analysis.
In my Valentine’s Day post, I mentioned that I was going to work on a poem for the Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest. I finally finished it this weekend and I spent most of the afternoon in my corduroy chair snickering and chortling and guffawing to myself. My family couldn’t figure out what was the matter with me until I offered to do a dramatic reading of my efforts. Soon they were rolling their eyes and snorting with laughter too. The consensus was that my poem was so ridiculous that it actually stood a chance of winning at least an honorable mention! One of my friends asked with horror why I would want to write a “bad” poem. To that I say “Why not?” Everything is worth trying at least once. If writers were afraid of failure then there wouldn’t be much for us to read.
So dare to play with your writing occasionally. Try a haiku or a limerick. Experiment with fan fiction, using favorite childhood characters. Write a silly song or a melodramatic soap opera episode. Most of all, have fun!