February 18, 2013

Why writing is just like singing

Let's discuss the different types of singers.

There are the oh so talented it makes you want to puke singers. Yeah, maybe they had to work a little with lessons and things of that sort, but ultimately, they are just gifted. Simple as that. My friend Savannah is one of those. Her voice is this husky, bluesy type that can't be taught. She's just gifted.

Then there are people like me. I have very little "natural talent" but I've got determination like you wouldn't believe. I'm a "bit" of a perfectionist. I have practiced and studied music my entire life.

(Here's a short story to give you an idea of what kind of singer I am)

I joined a church a few years ago and immediately jumped into the choir. I just had to be a part of that amazing group of voices.

Shortly after joining the choir, the director announced that he wanted to form a praise team to lead the 8:30 worship. Each service he would have 2 sopranos, 2 male (bass or baritone), and 2 altos on stage singing the worship. Then during the 11 o'clock service these people would still have the mics to lead with the choir.

I was new, so of course, he wanted to hear me sing before he stuck a microphone in my hand. So I sang for him AND I MADE THE CUT!

Sooo, when a solo came up that I thought would be a good fit for my voice, I auditioned.

He gave the solo to one of his "experienced" singers.

Another solo came up.

I auditioned again.

He gave it to another singer.

I've stopped auditioning. He's heard me sing and if he ever feels a song is right for me, I know he'll give me that solo. It's been over two years though, so I've come to terms with the fact that I'm just not solo material.

But I still get to sing in the praise team once or twice a month. And I get to sing with that lovely lady you just listened to. And most of the time she sings a solo, which means I'm trusted to carry the soprano part BY MYSELF! And you know what? I'm okay with that. I may not be a solo singer. I may never be good enough to be in the spot light, but through A TON of hard work, I've trained my vocal chords enough that I'm trusted with a microphone, and I'm considered a strong soprano who can hold her own.

Then there are the ones who think their voice is awesome sooo THEY SING SO FREAKIN LOUD YOU CAN'T HEAR YOURSELF. They don't blend AT ALL. Being a part of a choir means that you should blend with the people next to you. But these people want so desperately to be heard, they belt out and drown all the voices around them. It is possible that they are just deaf. But I think it is more of a selfish thing--desperate for the spotlight.

When singing in a choir, you should be able to hear your own voice blending with the voices around you. It's a beautiful thing when your voice aligns just right with the person next to you and you almost sound like one voice. You compliment each other. This is how it should be!

I think writing is just like singing.

1.) There are those that are so talented they get an agent right away, or a pub contract on THEIR FIRST NOVEL. A part of you is happy for them, but inside you can't help but think 'Really? REALLY??? I've written FOUR NOVELS!!! Where's my contract?'
2.) There are writers who work really hard for a really long time and still never become this great, breakout debut writer, but maybe, if they are patient enough, and work hard enough, they get to see their words in print someday. Maybe they even get an agent who will work with them to help them improve where needed. I am one of those--and I'm totally cool with it.
3.) And then there are the ones who would just assume to stand in the back row and try to drown out everyone else. They don't need a microphone. They are better than that. (And yes, there is one in EVERY CHOIR). They are selfish. They self promote their writing like crazy--but do not promote other's writing. They ask you to crit/beta read, along with twenty other people, but when the thirty of us ask it in return, they are too busy. In their little world, they are the only one who deserves the spotlight. Eventually, they end up alone. No one wants to sit next to that selfish singer (writer)--no matter how talented they may be.

Being a writer is such a privilege. I get to be a part of this amazing group of people. It's all about blending and encouraging each other. And yes, even cheering for those amazing soloist. They can't help it they are so gifted. And maybe, just maybe, someday I'll get a solo too. But if not, it's still an honor to be a part of this group of wonderful people.

I'll leave you with another one of Savvy's songs :)
Go. Write. Be brilliant.


Nancy Thompson said...

You're right, writing is like singing. I'm in group 1 but all that really means is that I focused intently on this one project, that just happened to be my first, and was relentless until I got what I wanted. I soaked up every bit of info along the way, wrote, revised, and polished, as nauseum, over and over again. Plus, a lot of it was luck and timing. But tenacity is the number one ingredient. If you simply refuse to quit, you'll make it. One way or the other.

Frank Blasi said...

As for me, I can't sing if my life depended on it, and I would not sing solo no matter how much you pay me!!!
Yet as for blending in worship, I'm quite comfortable singing in the congregation, where I can focus on God, his majesty, goodness and power.
Writing is something I enjoy doing, especially in glorifying God and edifying others (if I can do that). That is the reason why I am on this site. As for publishing, one of my followers here reccommended that I write a book on my travel experiences. Unfortunately, it is another case of easier said than done, as the most difficult part is not in the composition, but in finding a publisher who is willing to take on my manuscript.
An excellent post.

Amber said...

@Frank-I know how you feel! Writing my memoir was difficuly, but getting an agent for it is hard. Nonfic is the hardest thing to sell.

@Nancy-I can't wait to read your book! I love a good thriller.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

So happy to see you posting!

I am sooo lucky. I don't think I have made the acquaintance of too many selfish drowners. Buuuut, I have seen some things on the web where people who feel big take jabs at indies and small pubbers and I can't help but think, "be a cold day in hell before I read your book...even if it becomes a movie". Because...I agree with you. Be a team player and if God gave you an awesome gift be thankful, not prideful.

Last point...I love you, but you're crazy. You are NOT untalented or NOT ever going to get anywhere. You have talent and God will throw open the doors when the time is right!!!

Amber said...

@Elizabeth- you are so sweet!!! I adore you. I do have 2 R&Rs that sent in 2 weeks ago, so I've been praying about them. In fact, if you want to watch, I did a little video about it :)