A Writing Lesson from a Cartoon
Bojack Horseman is one of the best TV shows ever. It’s clever and silly and deep, too. It’s like the writers followed Joss Whedon’s advice to, “Make it dark, make it grim, make it tough, but then, for the love of God, tell a joke.”
Season 6, the last season of the series, has an episode called “Good Damage.” It’s about the writer Diane, who struggles with writing, which she’s good at. Writing is her passion. But writing about her trauma is too hard and she ends up writing a fun young adult novel about a teenager who solves mysteries at a food court mall. Diane says that she doesn’t want to write this type of fluff because, “That means all the damage I got isn’t ‘good damage.’ It’s just damage.’”
This resonated with me because even though I say I like writing and am good at it, I have a hard time actually doing it. I struggle and struggle as I force myself to write scripts and stories. I stopped blogging because it was too difficult for me to articulate my convoluted feelings. I got caught up trying to convey everything going on inside my brain. And as a result, the creative tap ran dry.
But after watching a cartoon writer struggle with writing, I decided to just write. I vowed to leave behind the complicated semantics tangling up my writing process and write about things that are interesting to me. It doesn’t have to be witty or insightful. This attitude lets me off the hook. I can express myself without the pressure of being deep or whatever.
Not writing for fun makes me feel sad because I’m not using my self-perceived talent to enlighten the world. So this year, I’m experimenting. I’m writing for myself. No expectations, no self-sabotage. Just me. And hopefully that’s enough.
3/15/2021 08:07:10 pm
BoJack Horseman is deep and transcends the medium of a cartoon. Well it's serious and also stupid (Vincent Adultman) so it's a good balance for weirdos like me,
4/21/2021 02:28:09 pm
My favorite character is Diane, no surprise. Such a good show.
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