It’s hard enough to elicit a laugh, much less on a deadline.
Ensure you never get caught without the perfect line. Follow these three tips for collecting a wealth of material from which to draw:
1. Make A Note ASAP
Everyday life creates hilarious moments, but if we can’t remember them, they’re as useful as an award-winning BBQ recipe in a vegan cookbook.
How do we keep the treasure trove of humorous material from disappearing into the abyss of forgetfulness? Write it down. ASAP.
Using an old-fashioned, time-tested method, strategically scatter notepads and pens around your house, perhaps next to all your reading glasses.
A more modern and convenient method takes advantage of the technology we carry with us everywhere — even into the restroom. Our smart phone.
On iPhone, tell Siri to “Make a note.” It’s quick and easy. Plus, whatever Siri thinks we said may wind up creating even funnier material.
Don’t feel like talking to Siri? Use a tape recorder app. Or, avoid receiving the look in public by shooting off a text or email to yourself. The text or email, sitting unopened in your phone or laptop, will also act as a reminder to transfer the story or thought into your Humor notebook.
Locking the anecdotes and one-liners into my cell phone protects memorable moments from getting booted out of my short term memory by my immediate need to remember where I parked my car.
2. Create a Humor File and Notebook
Take an old-fashioned file folder and notebook, label them, and fill them with anything that strikes you as humorous.
At least once a week print out your text messages, emails and Siri notes and drop them into the file folder or copy them into your notebook.
As much as I love old fashioned pen and paper, I’m hooked on modern technology. The “search” function alone won me over. It makes finding a specific gem of wit easier than flipping through a thick notebook or drawer stuffed with scraps of paper.
My current favorite tool for collecting and organizing note-worthy material is Evernote. It’s available as an app and on-line, and it syncs across your devices. The free version offers all we need to keep saved information at our fingertips.
3. Write Down One Thought or Memory A Day
Form the daily habit of writing down at least one anecdote, thought, or simile into your notebook. It doesn’t have to be funny. You can work with it later and make it funny.
I keep my notebook by my bed. Each night I write at least one thing into it. Daily intentionality can become an involuntary, and helpful, habit later.
With a stash of memories, quotes, and stories within reach, half of our work is done.
Over time we’ll have gathered a wealth of material from which to draw when a humorous line is needed, because struggling to think of a clever simile on demand is as hard as . . . as . . . oh, never mind.