So I was asked to write a blog about the worst writing advice I ever received. Since then I have thought about it, mulled it over, then thought some more. And the verdict? I don’t remember getting any really bad advice. Romance authors are notoriously generous in training other, up-and-coming authors in the trade. I’ve heard it mentioned time and time again. That’s not to say that I haven’t received a bad critique or bad advice on a small scale—like the contest judge who meant well when she told me that there was no such dog as a toy poodle. Or the editor who harshly criticized my police research. (FYI—my husband is a police officer and has been for almost twenty years). Nope, those sort of things you read, you laughingly share with your writing friends, and you move on. No, I’m talking about really *bad* advice.
I’m not saying that I didn’t receive any at all. I just never received any from an outside source. I see you nodding your head. You’ve figured it out. Yes, I have been my own worst enemy. As my daddy would say, writers are ‘eat up with it.’ Which means most of us have the same problem.
The worst advice I gave myself was no one takes comedy seriously. Okay, maybe not. At least not as seriously as a drama or action adventure, but isn’t that sort of the point? When someone reads one of my books and tells me they cried, I feel bad and have to stop myself from apologizing. When they tell me that they laughed out loud, I always want to know at what part. Some may not take comedy seriously, but it’s okay if I do.
I realized this one afternoon while watching a documentary about Jerry Lewis. No one did comedy like Jerry Lewis and he did it his entire life, is still doing it now. He didn’t ‘outgrow’ comedy or start to think about other ways to stretch his resume. At least not in a different genre. He worked on his comedy, seeking new ways to make his audience laugh. Why? Because that’s what he loved to do.
Method to the Madness was a 2011 Encore Channel original program. At the time, Lewis was 85, sitting in front of his dressing room mirror, making all the crazy faces at himself as he practiced his routine and got ready for his performance. He’s credited with actor, writer, director, producer, and of course humanitarian. All but the last one are firmly entrenched in comedy.
So anytime that bad advice giver in my head raises up and says no one takes comedy seriously, I push them aside and reply that Jerry Lewis does and so do I!
(The moral of this story is ‘Don’t be your own worst enemy. If you think it’s important, chances are someone else will too.’)
Amie loves nothing more than a good book. Except for her family…and maybe homemade tacos…and fingernail polish. But reading and writing are definitely high on the list.
Born and bred in Mississippi, Amie is a transplanted Southern Belle who now lives in Oklahoma with her deputy husband, their genius son, two spoiled cats, and one very lazy beagle.
When she’s not creating quirky characters and happy endings, she’s chauffeuring her prodigy to guitar lessons and geek club. She also loves gardening, talking about the neighbors, and generally anything that can get her out of housework.