Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Writing a Humorous Column IV

[This article is Part IV of a series on writing a humorous column.  We recommend reading Writing a Humorous Column, Writing a Humorous Column II and Writing a Humorous Column III before coming back to this one.]

This is the fourth post from Greg Bray, who has kindly agreed to write a series of guest blogs here at How to Get Published. While his posts focus on writing humorous newspaper columns, his advice is sound for anybody looking to get published in newspapers and magazines.

Greg Bray is a shift worker living in Gladstone, Central Queensland. On his days off he spends a fair bit of his time tapping away at his keyboard, writing a regular weekly column for the Gladstone Observer, or trying to bring some of his characters to heel in his novels.

When he is not handcuffed to his laptop, he can usually be found working around the house, spending time with his family, touring on his bicycle or motorbike, or simply sitting in his tinnie wondering why the fish aren’t biting.

One day he hopes to make a living as a full time writer. You can contact him via his Blog which can be found by googling ‘Gladbloke’, or by going directly to http://gladbloke.wordpress.com/.

The Next Step
Ok, you’ve landed a regular writing gig with a local paper, or magazine, so now you’ve got to keep, and build, your readership. And you will do that with good writing, which contains interesting and relevant topics. As well as honing your style, seek out new experiences, visit places you’ve never been before, attend meetings, move away from your computer and live a little, in other words, get the hell out of your comfort zone then write about it, and find the humour in each situation. At this point I can’t stress enough for you to start carrying a notebook if you haven’t already started, because you will get ideas that you will need to jot down if you don’t want them to slip from your memory quicker than an eel into thick weeds. Gollum!

Also, even though you are now a regular columnist, it is important that you remember to never rest on your laurels. No matter what writing you do, always aim for your very best. Never, ever, churn out average work, and submit it. Trust me, it shows when you get lazy and your column becomes just another job. Always aim to continuously improve your writing, and in doing so you will continue to build your fan base. Perhaps it might pay to enrol in a creative writing course? Join a writers’ group or organisation, expand your knowledge, in short, do whatever it is you need to do to stay at the cutting edge.

I didn’t say it was going to be easy, but it can be a lot of fun working this hard.

The Big Picture
Once you have a proven track record of having regularly written good quality columns, which have been published and received positive feedback then you are ready to raise your profile.

At this point you may wish to approach other newspapers and ask for syndication, or to write a regular column for them. Perhaps you’d like a crack at writing an advice column, or movie reviews for a magazine. Look for other writing opportunities to keep you busy, motivated and pushing your personal limits. Don’t over extend yourself, keep your promise to supply regular, well written pieces, and in doing so, you will be building a worthwhile CV for later use.

Where does it end?
For a lucky few, it ends with a regular column in a large paper, or a full time writing career as a freelancer. This is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for all determined writers, but you’re going to have to work hard to position yourself for the opportunity when it arrives, and you have to be ready to grab that chance when it turns up.

The fact that others have made it, means that you can too.

“If it’s your dream, then have a go!”

But remember, Dave Barry’s job is Mine!

If this article has been helpful to you, or you think I have left out something of importance, then feel free to comment below, or drop me a line at my blog

(c) Copyright 2010. The author, Greg Bray, remains the copyright owner of the content of this post.

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