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Chapter 3 – Choosing a Topic

The “topic” is the thing you write your poem about. Choosing a topic, means deciding what you are going to write about. Selecting a topic can be the easiest or the hardest part of writing a funny poem. If you let yourself, you can spend hours or even days trying to come up with just the right idea for your funny poem. However, if every time you start to get an idea, you tell yourself it’s not a good idea, or not funny enough, or that you should be able to come up with a better idea, you will never start writing.

Instead, if you force yourself, each time you sit down to write, to use the first idea that comes to mind, you will end up writing a lot more poetry, much of which will be better than you ever expected.

Also, if every time you come up with an idea for a poem, you write it down without worrying about whether it is a good idea or a bad idea, you will soon find you have more ideas than you know what to do with, and many of them will make excellent poems.

Look Around You

But what if nothing comes to mind? Can you just pick an idea out of the air? Of course! Look around you. What do you see? If you are at home, you could write a funny poem about:

  • The toaster
  • The bathtub
  • Your mom
  • Your pet
  • Your sister’s or brother’s bedroom
  • Dinner
  • And so on…

If you are outside, you could write a funny poem about:

  • A car
  • Trees
  • A dog
  • Skateboarding
  • Baseball
  • And so on

If you are at school, you could write a funny poem about:

  • Your teacher
  • Homework
  • Your messy desk or locker
  • Cafeteria lunch
  • Recess
  • The principal
  • Excuses for missing school
  • And so on

Other Funny Poem Topics

In addition to poems about home, outdoors and school, there are lots of other subjects you can choose from. For example, you can write about birthdays or holidays, chores, animals, babies, family vacations, meals, sports, or just about anything else you can think of. You can write about aliens, monsters, robots, movies, toys, comic books, and so on. As you can see, the list of things to write about is nearly endless.

In addition to writing about things you know about, you can also write about things in your imagination. You could write about a town where everyone does everything backwards, eating dessert before dinner and lunch before breakfast, and waking up before they go to sleep. You could write about your own private kingdom where you were the ruler and everyone did exactly what you said. You could write about a land where all the dogs were orange and corn dogs grew on trees. And so on. If you can think of it in your imagination, you can write a poem about it.

Narrowing it Down

Let’s say you decide to write a funny poem about an animal. How do you pick an animal to write about? You could write about an animal you know, such as your pet dog, frog, fish, cat, etc. Or you could write about an animal you’ve seen in the zoo or read about in a book. I like to write about animals that have a funny characteristic. For example, skunks are fun to write about because they smell so bad, like a dirty old pair of gym socks. Kangaroos bounce as if they have springs in their legs and they have a pouch for carrying baby kangaroos and spare change. In fact, most animals have one or two unique characteristics that make them an easy subject for a funny poem.

In Chapter 4, I will show you how to use these funny characteristics to make your poem funny. But for now, let’s concentrate on how to choose a subject.

So let’s try it. First let’s pick an animal. Let’s say you would like to write a poem a bird. Should you write about:

  • A pelican?
  • A parrot?
  • A toucan?

You could write poems about any of these, so how can you pick one? All of these birds have special characteristics. For example, pelicans have extremely large beaks, many parrots can talk, and toucans have long, colorful beaks.

If you think of several different topics, how to you choose which one you should write about? One easy way is to pick the first thing you think of. So if the first bird you thought of was a pelican, write a poem about an pelican. When you finish that one, then you can write a poem about the second one you thought of, and the third one.

So you see, choosing a topic for a poem is easier than you thought! If you feel like you are having trouble choosing a topic, just decide to write about the first thing you think of. Then sit down and write. I often find that while writing a poem I come up with more ideas for other poems. You may find that this happens to you. You may start writing about the first idea that comes to you, but find yourself coming up with new and sometimes even better ideas while you are writing.

Once you’ve decided what to write about, now it’s time to learn how to make it funny. In Chapter 4 I will show you how to do exactly that.