Friday Speak Out!: Distractions in Satire

Friday, February 03, 2017
by Jackie Sizemore

In October 2016, after finishing a string of documentaries on cults, I imagined a world of Trump TV.

I don’t know how much credit should go to the documentaries– I have always had a weird fascination with cults and insulated lifestyles. Maybe it was the huge uptick in the political commentary I’d been watching. The ideas kept coming, wondering what shows a President Trump would air; even what movies would marathon late into the night.

I told myself “no.” I felt that I shouldn’t be bothering with short pieces when I had a novel draft to complete. Humor writing was unrelated, a fluke, a distraction. My writing to-do lists loomed over my desk. Satire was something I should remain on the consuming end of. Besides, it wasn’t like a one-page satire piece was going to change my life financially.

When your budget is “can I really afford a topping on my pizza” tight, it is hard not to judge writing projects by their earning potential. After much internal debate, I allowed myself to open a new, blank document and write whatever came to mind. What appeared on the page looked oddly similar to the humorous articles I enjoyed finding on my social media feed. Strange, I thought to myself. Maybe there was something to this.

After a nerve-wracking research and submission process, crossing my fingers that the relevancy of a potential President Trump wouldn’t become irrelevant before November, I sent what I hoped was a satirical piece out to several magazines. Coming from the literary journal world, I was used to six-month waits and really didn’t know what to expect. A humor magazine wrote me back in less than 24 hours, and my first public attempt to be funny in writing was out for the world to see. I was hooked.

Since then, I’ve written several more political-satire pieces, most of which have been placed at humor magazines. I haven’t had the luck of getting into a paying humor market yet, but then again, I’ve been paid exactly nothing for my literary pursuits, so the least I can do is give this new genre a few more years to net a profit.

While focusing on a long-term project has its own rewards, I think there is something to listening to those moments of energetic “what ifs” in our writing. By giving a “distraction” a chance, I found a way to channel my political frustrations, and a whole new genre to explore. While I am very much a newbie in the satire-writing world, the whole process has pushed me to become more deliberate and efficient in my humor writing endeavors. Plus, I love making people laugh!

I would encourage everyone to not be too dismissive when a new writing idea comes along at a less-than-convenient time. Who knows, you might find a whole new area of writing to enjoy!

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Jackie Sizemore is a freelance writer and independent educator. At her company, Point of View Consulting, she provides coaching on individual grants, graduate school applications, and creative writing feedback. Read more of her writing at
Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!


Sioux Roslawski said...

Jackie-I love satire, and I think we need more laughter these days.

Congratulations on your writing success, and thanks for the nudge/advice. Out-of-the-box thinking sometimes CAN lead to great opportunities.

Jackie said...

Thank you Sioux!

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