My Mission Statement

I write to serve, to unite, to educate. I write to share literature and flesh out ideas that may be of interest to others. I write to document an emotion, experience, or a blip in time. My mission is to write in such a way that the reader is reminded that we can find humor in all situations. It's one of the great blessings of life.

Monday, February 13, 2012

5 Things Writers Can Learn from the Grammies

There is something so amazing about a group full of artists who share the same kind of passion for their work. People gathered for an awards ceremony that honors the best of the best in their industry share common dreams, hopes, and understanding of what it takes to 'lay down' a track. Since I am not a member of the music industry (although I once thought I wanted to be), I don't know all this insider stuff, but I do know what it is like to be part of an artist's community.
I feel a similar buzz, excitement, and emotion during the ALA awards every year. I laugh, I cry, and I dream a new dream. I send congratulatory notes, and I sometimes wonder why a certain book made the list. But I am always tuned in to be a part of it, if even in a very fringe manner.

So here's my list of 5 Things Writers Can LEARN from the Grammies:
1. BE A PART OF IT. Something special happened in that audience last night. From the tributes to Whitney Houston and great live performances. Everyone in that room shared a special night of memories that will never come again. They bonded in a way that only a live event can bond you. Writers, attend your regional, and if possible, national SCBWI conferences. Sure, it's an expense, an investment, but you will benefit from being a part of your community.

2. SUPPORT FELLOW ARTISTS. Don't be the one smirking from the sidelines. Be the fellow artist all aglow, applauding, standing up, cheering, maybe even crying, in support of the success of others. Admire the excellence, creativity, and hard work of others. Gush. Congratulate. Be a fan. Buy their work.

3. KNOW YOUR INDUSTRY. I don't mean 'know your industry' in a kind of statistical manner. I mean 'know your industry' like 'get them'. Understand what makes fellow writers tick. What brings them success. What helps them find productivity and results. What common denominators are there in your industry. Don't reinvent the wheel. Find out how others have figured it out and build on their shoulders. (and don't forget to thank them)

4. DO THE WORK. It sounds simple, but everyone has to do the work. There are no shortcuts in art. We all have to get up in the morning and make the do-nuts, so to speak. We have to practice our craft every day for YEARS even DECADES to become excellent. People who experience great success at a younger age crammed lots of practice and hard work into fewer years. Read THE OUTLIERS, a great book about the statistics of success. Pay attention to the part about how the Beatles did multiple shows a DAY in Amsterdam for an extended period of time. It's no accident that they had this staggering # of playing hours under their belt when they achieved success.

5. THE BEST ART IS FROM THE HEART. The award-winners produced their best products from a deep, heartfelt place. It's no accident that Taylor Swift evokes MAJOR emotion in concert and through a simple listening of her song about someone being mean to her. Last night when she sang, "Someday I'll be singing this song at the Grammies, and all you're ever gonna be is mean." That is basic, raw emotion that made everyone in the room go crazy. That song came from the heart. The more raw the emotion, the more people connect with it, and then, the better the art.

So all you writers, like me, who stayed up LATE last night to watch the Grammies, have an extra cup of coffee and hit the keyboard. Write from the HEART, and be inspired by last night's gathering.

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