It occurred to me today, after watching a long round of The Big Bang Theory, that I have no sense of humor. Oh, I appreciate watching it and reading it when someone else does it for me to enjoy. I can laugh at a good joke, and crack a few good ones myself. But if you ask me to write humor? Nope. I didn’t get on that DNA line before I entered this world.
It’s been said that comedy is tragedy plus time, and I gotta tell you that the best comedies shove characters into odd situations that push buttons but that also get laughs. Think Lucille Ball raising chickens, and all those eggs tucked “safely” in her shirt while Ricky practices their tango routine, only to end up crushing the eggs into a huge, messy goo. Or Stephanie Plum blowing up yet another car, or burning her hair. Or Sheldon’s “Bazinga, Punk” Zombie moment when he finally figures how to retaliate against Leonard’s pranks.
They say you should write out of your comfort zone if you’re to grow as a writer. Yeah, well, I’m here to say that this particular adage only goes so far. You don’t want me writing humor. Really, you don’t. And I don’t believe a writer should push so far out of their comfort zone if they already know their limitations. Is that the equivalent of being a wuss? Nope. I think that’s accepting yourself as you are and, in all seriousness, saving the public from a pain they shouldn’t have to endure.
This is, in a way, also the equivalent of writing to the trends. Worst mistake to make ever. The moral of the story here? Write what you know, write what you love, and write what turns you on. Sure, you can push your limitations along the way as long as they’re reasonable pushes. Readers will be grateful for it.
And so will you because it takes the pressure off. No one should tell you what you should write, or how you should write it. Comfort zone or not.
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