Log in

Insider Workshop: “Mining Your Life for Laughter" with Bob Balmer

  • Saturday, June 03, 2023
  • 12:30 PM - 2:30 PM
  • The Mizell Center, 480 S Sunrise Way, Palm Springs, CA 92262


  • Premium Membership includes free entry to all General Speaker Meetings, Insider Workshops and Writing Labs for the year. You must be logged in to select this option.
  • Standard or Student members who register on or before the date of the preceding month’s Insider Workshop will receive an early registration discount of $25 (33% off the regular $75 fee). You must be logged in to select this option.
  • Standard and Student members are provided a la carte access to Insider Workshops at the Member rate of $75. You must be logged in to select this option.
  • Non-Members pay $150 for each Insider Workshop. Please note that if you choose to join the Guild before registering for this event you will pay a $75 Membership fee, and then the Member rate of $75 for the event—the same $150 total, but you’ll then gain all the benefits of membership in the Guild (including the Membership rate of $75 at any future Workshop).

Registration is closed

Mining Your Life for Laughter

About Bob Balmer

Bob Balmer’s humorous writing has appeared in The Smithsonian, The Seattle Times, ZYZZYVA, The Oregonian, The Seattle Weekly, Oregon Coast Magazine, Golf Illustrated and other print media.  It has aired on MarketPlace, The Savvy Traveler and Oregon Public Radio and Television.  He has participated as a writer and judge in the Hoffman Center’s Word and Image project and served on a committee to select presenters for the Write on the Sound writing conference.  He has attended classes at Second City in Chicago and continues to hone his craft, taking classes and being mentored by Gina Ochsner.  He is a member of the Portland Storytellers Guild, The Oregon Writers Colony and has facilitated writing workshops throughout the Pacific Northwest.  His website is: 

Description of talk:

Humor is essential to good writing. Even the most serious fiction or nonfiction will benefit from a moment of levity. If you’re naturally funny, here’s a workshop to help you enhance and harness that energy. If you don’t think you’re a funny writer, remember: Funny is Money. Could humor be what’s missing from your work? Join us for a unique workshop that takes humor…seriously. During this workshop we will study writers who mine humor from their lives, whether written primarily to be funny (Dave Barry, David Sedaris…) or to use humor to augment a truth (Lena Dunham, Chloe Hilliard, Barbara Ehrenreich…).  Humor is subjective, and as we parse and practice the various theories of and the methods writers use to convey humor, we will look for or refine our singular humorous voices to enliven our writing.  

Your takeaway:

Three humor theories

Finding your humorous voice (humor is subjective)

Structure:  choosing an essay or a story to deliver humor

Openings for humorous writing 

Seven methods humorists use to deliver humor

Melding humor with truth

*Please bring 1-3 personal anecdotes you’d feel comfortable using as the genesis for a humor piece. 

*There will be links to four suggested, not required, pre-readings.   The readings will be alluded to but there will be meaningful context for those who did not pre-read.


Unable to attend, no problem, all registrants will receive a video replay of this presentation. Please allow up to 48 hours after the event to receive your video replay.

To receive a full refund minus a $25 cancellation processing fee, attendees must cancel their registration 5 days before the event. No refunds will be given after that time. To cancel your registration, go to and click on the blue icon at the top right of any page. Enter user name and password and click "LOG IN". On the next screen click "My event registrations". Select event and cancel registration. 

We may take photos and/or videos at any of our events for promotional purposes.

Meeting begins at 12:30 p.m. and ends at 2:30 p.m. 

Ready to become a member of the Palm Springs Writers Guild? Please click here.

Event Contact: Eduardo Santiago