Terri-Lynne DeFino (bogwitch64) wrote,
Terri-Lynne DeFino

What do writing and American Idol have in common?


Let me e'splain. I was watching American Idol last night, watching these kids get torn apart, these kids who only a few short weeks ago were the darlings of these four judges. And there they were the last two nights, sucking wind like the gap in a seven-year old's smile. "It's their first night," you say. "Give the kids a break!"

But listening to the comments made by the judges struck a chord in my writer's brain. Haven't we all heard the same sort of criticisms? "You're trying too hard." "You need to grow." "Cliche." "Your nerves are holding you back." "Believe in yourself."  " That was awful."  "You're not being true to who you are as an artist."  "Wrong song choice."

Writers travel the same path. These kids try out for American Idol because they can sing. We write because we have a natural aptitude for it. (I'm not talking the delusional here. That's an entirely different post!) Maybe we submit stories to magazines. Maybe we apply to Viable Paradise or Clarion. Like the kids on American Idol, we either make it through or we don't. Then we get to the Hollywood round--in a writer's case, let's say Clarion--only to find that the talent that got us there isn't even nearly enough to go further. In fact, the talent that got us us to that place we thought was IT gets torn to shreds, analyzed for every misplaced word. Our talent is battered to a bloody pulp. Listen to that criticism, learn from it, and we will grow as artists. Allow that criticism to hurt more than it helps, we won't.

Over the next months, we'll see some of these kids turn into stars. It's the same every year. Some are already at their peak and will be little more than memories soon. There are others who will just grow, grow, grow. There is one who will become a star. But only those who listen to the criticism of those judges so experienced in the music business, only those who learn from their mistakes will have a chance at success whether or not they make it all the way to that #1 spot.

Success means different things to different people. There are few who will turn down superstardom should it come their way, but there are many who don't strive to be that one-in-a-million. I'm not here to lay claim to the true definition of success. I'm here comparing a cheesy television show to my heart's desire, because art is art and growing is being. Stop growing, stop being. A singer. A sculptor. A writer.

Tags: writing is life

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