Yes, it’s true. I’m addicted to The Voice, the reality television show about singing. I missed the first few episodes (don’t worry, I later found them on this interwebby thingy), but then I was hooked. Witnessing raw talent in the flesh can be awe-inspiring and the show certainly delivers on that. I can also identify with the struggle some of the singers have faced during their singing journeys. Life can so easily get in the way of pursuing your dreams—kids, heartbreak, health issues…
It’s the same for writers. Most writers have day-jobs, so can only set their creativity free outside of work. Then there’s raising a family, if that’s what you want. To keep your friends and relationships requires time and effort too. Then what if something goes wrong with your plan of attack? Your health falters, or that of your partner? The GFC might still knock on your door with a redundancy or termination. The love you thought would last forever… doesn’t. The devastation that follows that one in particular can take years to repair, if that’s ever even possible (did you know the human brain responds to rejection as if it’s in physical pain? See here).
To claw back from a plan gone wrong takes strength and determination. Luckily, most writers (especially those on Write Anything!) have both in spades, which is why it’s so competitive an industry. Of course, we don’t get to hear about others’ setbacks too much—and not just because we don’t have a reality television show on which to share them (can you only imagine how slow that show would be!)! Most writers tend to stay relatively quiet about the setbacks they experience… but that’s why sites like this one are so important. So thanks, Jodi Cleghorn and Paul Anderson for what you do to keep this sharing-experience going.
The other reason I love The Voice, is because of just that—voices. Each singer selects a song to sing and can, if they wish, put their own spin on the singing of it. There have been some incredible spins! Some don’t quite hit the mark, but most do. For a writer, finding your true voice can take years. Then, once you’ve found it, there are still plenty of mistakes to be made in the mastering of it. I suppose it’s the same for artists of every kind. What’s interesting to watch on The Voice, however, is how the judges respond.
A well-sung song will have the judges hovering over their buttons, panicking over whether or not to press it in approval. The song can be good, really good. But if the judges aren’t moved, or inspired in a particular way, their don’t press their buttons. Afterwards, they often explain that they were relying on their instincts.
It’s much the same in our industry too. A rejection doesn’t necessarily mean that your story isn’t good. It just might not have moved or inspired that particular editor. That’s where a writer’s strength and determination comes into play again. If you’ve got a good story, you must keep going, just like the singers on The Voice. Your writing journey may have to take a deviation or two, but you’ll get there—and when you do, your readers will all that more awe-inspired, witnessing your raw talent in the flesh!