Ever hear a song and fall completely in love? The sound, the beat, that euphoric feeling that dominates the moment while your ears are filling your brain with all sorts of … this is better than sex … pleasantries? Even the lyrics don’t seem as important as what the sound itself has invoked. Of course, you’re going to listen to it again, and maybe grasp the intent of those lyrics (if there are even any lyrics involved) and suddenly the song takes on a new and perhaps even better, more profound meaning. You’re enamored, enraptured, and hooked. It’s the greatest song to come along in awhile, and you’re glad to be in the moment.
Then you feel compelled to share that excitement, that spiritual depth with others. You want them to feel as elated and uplifted as you were when you first heard it. So, you beg them to give it a listen. Or, you say, when they’re trapped in your car and have no escape route, that the song they’re about to hear will absolutely blow them away with its amazing awesome-ness.
“You won’t believe how great this is going to be.”
And then the song begins and you’re ear-to-ear smiling, maybe humming along quietly so as not to disturb your captive audience. Swaying to that incredible beat and going back in your mind to that heavenly experience you felt the first time you heard the song yourself when suddenly you hear:
“What is that dumb noise repeating in the background?” or “It’s the same few notes being repeated again and again.” or worse. “If you like it, I guess it’s okay.”
After overcoming the initial shock at their remarks, and then getting past the ‘why can’t they hear what I do?’ stage, you listen to the song again. Now that it’s been pointed out, you do actually hear what appears to be an annoying tink, tock, or vocal one-note that keeps going and going. It is a bit monotonous. Or worse, someone is actually making a high-pitch sound every few seconds.
The song you thought was beyond amazing is now ruined. The moment is gone forever, and you’ll never hear that tune the same way again.
You’ve let yourself be robbed of the fun, joy, and satisfaction you felt in a wonderful and rare moment of greatness. You invited someone else into your special world only to have their opinion or keener sense of hearing destroy what you once deemed brilliant.
Janet Jackson’s Alright and Bobby Womack’s Inherit the Wind are two such songs that went from amazing to “I wish my friend had never pointed out that sound in the background, because now I hear it every freaking time.”
This is nearly equivalent to allowing someone to read your writing before you know it’s done – at least allowing it to be read with the mistaken and misguided notion of the reader coming away with the same feeling you have about the story. This is where I always make my biggest mistake, needing some positive reassurance that what I’m doing – what I’m slaving away to accomplish – is actually worth that effort.
Then, and for more than a week, I’m hesitant to go back and write again as a result. I’ve let the bad feeling consume me to the point of questioning my own talent.
It’s never anything outside of technicalities, too. Little things I need to have pointed out to me and yet are taken to heart in a way that strangely equates to their having set a match to my work then laughed insanely as they watch it go up in flames.
I’m too weak, too sensitive, too egocentric.
“If I don’t even know all these rules and guidelines and likes/dislikes, all these do’s and don’t’s about writing, then what makes me think I will ever get anywhere?”
If I can’t hear or see what the problem is, then I’m wasting time living in my own, private world of happiness and butterflies, nirvana and peace. If it is my intention to share my love with the rest of the world, then what is the point?
TIME seems to be the answer.
Time and resolve, plus the ingrained need to write regardless of what might be wrong with the methodology of my work. It can’t be helped. Just like I still want to groove to Inherit the Wind and will do whatever it takes to avoid hearing that little xylophone sound in the background. It’s still a beautiful song despite the one flaw.
I want to write as much as I want to jump out of my chair and start dancing around like the white-women-can’t-dance fool I am any time Alright starts to play. Screw the irritating, repetitious high-note behind the lyrics! I need and want and enjoy the beat so just dance!
I remind myself that readers enjoy my stories and want to know more, but that I – I – need to work on point of view. It’s SO not easy after all these years of writing one way and then suddenly discovering the mistake, learning how to correct it, and then actually remembering to implement it without reverting – wanting to revert – back to my old ways. It’s upsetting to be confused about something I thought was great yet know actually isn’t. Like the songs I thought sounded incredible until someone points out a flaw and then …
With writing, I appreciate the learning aspects no matter how difficult trying to learn and incorporate them turn out to be. This just puts me one step closer to my goal of getting published. It’s just not easy to write now, and that is rough because I like everything to be easy. I want it that way because easy will always be better than hard in my book.
With the music, not so much. I’ve learned to tone down my enthusiasm in that regard and force myself not to share with the world my amazing, new discoveries. That way I’m able to enjoy the moment much longer – before the annoyance someone else hears immediately eventually makes its way to my own ears.
So, I don’t hear certain things others do right away. I don’t blog twitter-style (in 50 words or less) to accommodate those who prefer to view everything through a phone screen. And, I’m not the greatest when it comes to following rules, regulations, guidelines, tips, strategies, and know-how when it comes to my writing. YES, I’m always up for learning where I fail with regards to the basics – like POV. Nothing else, though.
I’m a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants writer and don’t care because part of the job of a writer is to edit. Which is why we have things like rough drafts, 1st through ten-billionth drafts, to help us polish and perfect our initial inclinations. I don’t plan out anything about my writing, either. The idea comes to me and I write it all down. Usually, though, the idea occurs after witnessing, hearing, or even reading something fascinating – something like the incredible song that blew my mind. Suddenly a story begins to brew inside my head because of what I’ve just heard, seen, or read, and the next thing I know, I’m at the laptop tapping away at the keys.
Not a tablet or an I-Phone, but an out-dated laptop. Heck, if they weren’t so loud, I’d be tons happier to click-clack away on an old typewriter with paper and ribbon. Even better, to write on paper with pen. With colored inks like purple, fuchsia, or chartreuse. THAT is my idea of fun. Writing fun. I think I stopped doing that because of carpal tunnel or something, though. I don’t remember.
What I do know and will try and remember is that if I let anyone in the door to my world prior to completing the work, then I’m screwing myself and have no one else to blame for the disappointment but me. This much I have learned, and this much I will take with me on this journey.
I am a writer. I know this because I present all of the classic symptoms of a writer, which makes me genuine. What I need to do is become an author, and in order to do that I must continue to write. Regardless of the rules and guidelines I continue to ignore, break, or have no knowledge of I still need to and must write.
Staying away from everything written about writing until I’m through with my own is just something else I’ve learned while on this road to success.
Putting theory into practice.