who watches American Idol and thinks of this writing thing we do.
So many of these people WANT to be singers. Even if they don't have one ounce of talent in their tiny baby toe. And so Randy or Paula or Simon will say, I think you better find something else, 'cause singing just ain't for you. And sometimes, the person is shocked, which is shocking in and of itself. And we sit around and go, well, duh! You can't sing!
So, we get rejection after rejection, and we start to wonder, is that what they're telling ME? Is this their way of telling me, this just ain't for you honey?
And after much pondering, I think not.
My thought is that a great singing voice is probably one of the few things we can't really improve upon. Either you're born with it or your not.
Some might say sports is another thing, as we watch the Olympics and stand in awe of what these people can do. But no one is born a gold medalist. Each and every person at those games has worked hard and long to get there. And how many of them will go home without a medal? A lot. Does it mean it ain't for them? No way. Maybe they have more to learn. Maybe they need to practice more. And maybe, luck just wasn't on their side this time.
I know I have more to learn. I know I need to practice, every day if I can find the time. And I know in the end, luck plays a big part in all of it. The right place at the right time and all that.
Lots of times I'll read a good book and get depressed because, geez, I want to write like THAT. But the thing is, I'm seeing the best part. I'm not seeing the earlier drafts where parts didn't make sense. I'm not seeing the parts the author cut because they were crap. I'm not seeing the 10-page letter the editor wrote that told the author all the things he/she needed to do to make the story better.
Sometimes I can't even get myself to open my current WIP because I get into that whole mindset of, "what's the point? It isn't any good, I have no clue what I'm doing, there's nothing special I can offer that the world doesn't already have, blah, blah, blah."
When I'm feeling down about it all, and those ugly, negative things are going through my mind, I remind myself that it's my ugly ego trying to protect me from getting hurt. It's a constant battle, getting that ego to shut up, let me tell you. The best way to shut it up, I've found, is just open the document and WRITE. And then another letter comes in the mail and my ego says, "See, I told you so." Oh yes, I know, it's so fun, isn't it?
I try to tell myself, so what - I'm going home without a yellow piece of paper taking me to Hollywood. So what - I'm going home without a medal today. So what - another editor said "NO" to me and another hundred people in her stack.
I'm going to keep learning. I'm going to keep practicing. And I'm going to keep writing. With each word typed on the page, we get better. With each book we read, we get better. With each idea comes the possibility that maybe THIS ONE is the one that some editor or agent will fall in love with.
Don't. Stop. Believing.
(originally posted on livejournal 2.12.06)