There's a lot of rejection in this business of gag writing. If you can't take rejection, this may not be the career for you. I've been doing this for many years and I still get frustrated and discouraged when nothing seems to sell. Cartoonists take very few of my gags. Cartoonists hold my gags but very few sell. I seem to be recycling gags from one cartoonist to another. Then I write lots of new ones - topical ones - business gags - gags about what's trending - and these seem to fall flat as well.
I know I can do this because I've got three portfolios of published cartoons whose ideas and captions are mine.
I'm still trying to fine-tune what I do. Over the years I've written for many cartoonists - some I still write for almost 20 years later - many I no longer write for. From the cartoonists who I currently write for I'm constantly re-evaluating how I can write better - how I can zero in on what they want - and, also - when it's time to take a break and focus on what I'm good at and can easily do.
I've written other things as well. I told you I have a background in news and feature writing, advertising copywriting, editing and proofreading. I believe my background in advertising definitely helps with my cartoon gag writing. I actually read ads - and the copy provides ideas and phrases that I use in my gag writing.
Many times I've said to myself and members of my family, "I could write a book." Well, in a way I already have. I have three large portfolios of published cartoons whose ideas/gags are mine. These are the books I've written. It's all my writing. It's my outlook on life. And when I get discouraged I need to go through these books and tell myself that I wrote all this and I will get published again.