For nine years people have lined up to pour their hearts out to the judges and America. Even if I haven’t followed every season all the way through, I’ve at least watched the auditions. Most of the time I laugh at the poor deluded people who can’t carry a tune. However this year, as I sit on the phone, watching with my best friend, I felt sorry for many of the contestants. And it had me questioning how these people can be SO wrong about their talent. Which in turn led me to think about writing—see, all things go back to writing.
A lot of people on the show have their parents and friends with them and they all sing these people’s praises even when it’s clear the people have no talent. My advice to these people…GET MORE OPINIONS! It’ll save you lots and lots of pain.
My mother LOVES my writing, thinks I’m the greatest thing since the word was invented. She always wants a poem—even though I hate writing poetry. She thinks the first book I wrote was great and believe me, it wasn’t. And while my sister thinks I’m a great writer, she gives more constructive feed back than my mother. Still, imagine if I dipped my toe into the big bad world of publishing based on the fact that my mommy and my big sis think I’m great.
Not only that, but most of the people who get rejected on American Idol don’t want to hear it. They reject the rejection, let the criticism—which, admittedly, isn’t always constructive—bounce right off of them like a bullet ricocheting.
So what I was saying to my best friend is that, if I suck, please tell me! I know it’s a fine line between being honest and stomping on someone’s dream. So this is where we, as writers, have to open our ears and our minds and listen to what people are saying to us. It’s never fun to get criticized, to have someone tell you that what you’ve created isn’t perfection. But if you want to get better—for some, it’s just not in the cards—then you have to have someone tell you that you suck, tell you why you suck, and then YOU have to do something about it.
Don’t be like the American Idol rejects who stomp away in tears, cursing and saying the world will see you again and the judges are idiots. While some people are mean and don’t know what they’re talking about, most people who critique your work honestly want to help you. So listen to them!
And that is my American Idol lesson.