Yesterday was July 4th and I was so lucky to have all three kids home with my husband and me. They are all in their 20’s with busy lives, so being all together is rare.

It was fun hanging around, relaxing but also doing some of our family’s favorite activities. Cribbage tournaments and walking in the woods are some of my favorites, mountain biking and lively debates are my husband’s and the kids love to chill at the beach and body surf. Doing all of these things together, even for a few days, is exhilarating for me.

And we all love cooking together and then sitting down for dinner. Inevitably someone brings up a “silly story”. These are usually about things that didn’t go just right (or worse), may or may not have been funny at the time, but are so funny now. Like the time we went for a special and pricey New Year’s Eve dinner in a yurt way up on a mountain. We were seated next to the guitarist. He was LOUD and sang off key. He was so bad that we were shaking with silent laughter and could not eat or hear each other talk. All someone has to say is “remember the yurtist” and we all crack up again. But there have been other events that we didn’t laugh at when they happened that we now see as humorous. They are fun stories to tell and share.

What are some of your “silly stories?” Seeing things with humor is such a great way to move on from or even celebrate things that didn’t go as planned. See if you can look back and remember a time that now makes you smile or even giggle. Write that story.

Here are some tips on humor:

Humor comes more naturally to some writers than others. Use it to the extent you feel comfortable.

Think about what makes you laugh. Use that kind of humor – write as you are.

Self-deprecating humor is always good, it makes you vulnerable, it makes you human.

Using some humor in a dark story helps your reader know that neither you nor they will become overwhelmed by the events. But make sure to let your reader know that you are “laughing” at yourself or the situation so they have permission to laugh.

Add dialogue to get humor in to your story.

Use Irony, but avoid sarcasm.

But Most of all…

Have Fun.

Happy Writing.

P.S. Write all your stories down. Save them. You’ll be surprised how much it means — to you the writer and to those who read it. Often the first step in saving family stories is learning them, which means asking questions. Here are 5 to get you started.

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