Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Laugh When You Write Your Legacy

I was reading a copy of Writing Your Legacy: The Step-by-Step Guide to Crafting Your Life Story, by Richard Campbell, M. ED and Cheryl Svensson, Ph. D., which by the way is a terrific book that zones in on how anyone can write about their life,, and found the chapter on how to use humor in your life story to be particularly entertaining and useful.

Here are the 12 stages they suggest for incorporating humor to reflect humility while telling a serious story:

1.      Be real, and be you. Don’ try to force humor; your writing will seem stilted and contrived.

2.      Be wise.  Humor is about wisdom.

3.      Be self-deprecating.  You’ll never offend anyone else if you make yourself the butt of the joke.

4.      Don’t use humor to insult others.  Other people in your life story aren’t suitable for target practice.

5.      Take charge.  Using humor puts you in charge of the story, especially if the subject matter is particularly dark.

6.      Use irony.  Irony is defined as saying one thing but meaning another, the difference between the appearance of others and the reality.  Sprinkle it throughout your life story.

7.      Play with words.  Have fun with words and phrases as you write.

8.      Find the right word.  Many words just sound funny and form comical images in your mind.  Look at words like dorky, clunker, or kerfuffle.

9.      Avoid sarcasm.  A sarcastic remark seems to be praising or complimentary, but is actually taunting and harmful.

10.  Use caution with exaggeration. Keep your story true, and don’t include people or situations that did not exist.

11.  Explore the ups and downs with humor.  When you tell these stories about yourself, you are revealing your humanness.

12.  Use humor for balance.  The art of writing well is about pacing.  There is an ebb and flow to the world we live in.  Our writing is most successful when it stays in sync with this life flow.  Use humor in balance.

“Humor,” write the authors, “generally reflects the truth.  It can exaggerate it, distort it, or run over it, but it usually gives you a sense of “I can see that happening to me, too.”  Bette Midler once wrote: “I never know how much of what I say is true.”  We have all experienced this on occasion.  But as long as you write what you believe to be your truth, you stay true to your story. Let the humor in your writing evolve naturally.”

Many people who write a memoir or autobiography do so because they are famous, successful, or well established and people want to hear their story.  Others write about themselves, though unknown, because they lived interesting lives. But then there are others who didn’t necessarily make millions of dollars, have crazy affairs, or live in the public spotlight, but they have something worth sharing with family, friends, and those closest to them.  Such a legacy book would do well with humor injected into it, for life is too serious not to laugh at it!

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015

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