Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Importance of Hanging Out with Other "Creative Types"

I work alone and I'm sure most of the people who read this blog do too. When I'm super busy and I'm accomplishing things the time goes by very quickly. I don't even realize I haven't spoken to anyone except the members of my immediate family all week. However, when the words aren't coming and neither are the checks it can get boring, frustrating and lonely.

I believe it's important to find people who do the same type of work I do and "talk shop." I attend meetings and events of the National Cartoonists Society where I'm able to talk to people who understand what I do. This seems to motivate me and helps me to keep doing this every day. If I can't physically be with others who understand what I do I try to keep in touch with other gag writers and cartoonists online or even  by phone. Again, getting assistance, encouragement and feedback from others motivates me. So does getting an email telling me something I wrote sold. So does seeing my work in print. And, of course, getting a check in the mail and making that deposit is a great motivator as well.

What I'm trying to say is when you work alone you don't have people at the next desk to bounce ideas off of. You don't have people down the hall to ask a question to. Sometimes I ask myself that if I stopped doing what I'm doing right now would anyone care. Getting together with others in the same boat lets you know you're not the only one who is:

a.) experiencing rejection (lots and lots of rejection)
b.) checking the mailbox 35 times a day to see if the mail arrived with a check you've been waiting for
c.) waiting months (or years) to find out if something you wrote (or drew) actually sold.  

Any comments? Email me at:

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Always Be Looking For New Opportunities

With a background in news and feature writing and advertising, two years ago I decided to write gags full time, which I had been doing on the side for the past 20 years. Over the years I've written for many cartoonists...several of whom I don't write for currently. Right now I'm writing for five syndicated cartoons and five cartoonists who submit to various publications. Cartoons, with my gags, have appeared in The New Yorker, Harvard Business Review, Barron's, Wall Street Journal, Better Homes & Gardens, First for Women, Playboy, the Chicken Soup for the Soul series of books, and many others. Oh, and I also do proofreading for a marketing company. I started this blog about eight months ago with the goal of helping people write better gags and letting them in on what it's like to be a behind-the-scenes gag writer.

I'm always looking for new writing opportunities. I search the Internet for syndicated cartoons I feel I can write for and, if so, I contact the cartoonist to see if they use writers. I have a profile on LinkedIn and Facebook and regularly try to connect with new people who I may be able to work with. I also scan job posting sites for new writing opportunities on a regular basis. I'm planning on writing a children's book - something completely new for me, but something I feel I must do. Sometimes I'm amazed at the work I've been able to develop for myself since I started doing this full time. I also feel that there's a lot more I could be doing. There's always room to grow.

I would ask that if anyone needs assistance with cartoon gag writing, please let me know. I can be reached by email at:

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Upcoming Election Can Be A Gold Mine -Part II

As a sequel to the entry I posted last Wednesday, I just want to say again that the upcoming Presidential election is ripe for humor. It's everywhere you turn: newspapers, magazines, radio, television, websites, podcasts and so on. Unless you're living in a cave, you can't get away from it. And what an election it is. Between the caucuses, primaries, debates, candidates winning, candidates losing, candidates dropping out, there's plenty of material out there.

Like I said last week, I watch local and national news, I read daily and weekly newspapers, I read weekly magazines, I listen to news radio. I jot down items, locations and phrases that will be used in my gag writing. I place the characters in unfamiliar places, like desert islands or at heaven's gate, and let them do the talking. I'm always trying to match up phrases in unfamiliar situations. Sometimes it leads to humor - sometimes it doesn't.

I don't write political gags, but I just don't think this Presidential election can be ignored. I'm writing the gags now because I don't want to miss out. There's plenty of twists and turns in this election...and it's only February.

Good luck writing!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Upcoming Election Can Be a Gold Mine!

Every newspaper you pick up, every television station you watch and every radio station you listen to has information about the upcoming presidential election. Even though the election isn't until November, we're in the midst of caucuses and primaries. Soon we'll be reading stories about the conventions set to take place in July. And then it's onward to the election.

The presidential election is just too large to ignore. Even if you don't write political gags, which I don't, you can write gags about how people decide who they're voting for, how bothered they are about the constant phone calls and direct mailings, what else they will be doing on Election Day. The bottom line is, this election is ripe for humor. And, all you have to do is read a newspaper or magazine, watch the national news on TV or listen to the radio. First of all, it will make you more knowledgeable about what's going on but also allow you to more easily write gags. Just like you would write about any other subject, you can jot down lots of phrases and words about the election, which will then be used to write gags. You can have your characters change settings or periods in history and have them discuss the subject. You can also slant gags you already have to refer to the election.

Like I said, I don't write political gags, but I can write about what the hipster thinks, or what the old couple watching TV at night thinks, or what kids think. I can also write about the character who has no interest in the election at all. Can't be bothered.

Good luck with it...and make it funny!

Any comments or questions, please send me an email at: