The Voice for Writers?
I’m not big on reality TV shows, especially ones where contestants are mean to each other to get others voted off, but on the recommendation of a friend, my husband and I have tried The Voice and I must admit, we’re hooked.
As great as the performances are — and seriously, there are some great singers on this show — it’s the concept that has us so excited to watch. The enthusiasm of the coaches — Christine Aguilera, Ceelo Green, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton — is almost as addictive as the stories of triumph of the contestants. And together, they make for tear-jerking fun.
All artists, whether singing, acting, painting or writing, have a voice in them telling them they’re not good enough. Why do you think so many turn to alcohol to drown it out! Doubt paralyses many artists, stopping them from pursuing their dreams. And for those who do, it’s a hard road to battle back self-doubt so they can perfect their craft.
Having someone else believe in you and be excited to help you, like the coaches on The Voice do, that’s priceless. That support can make a huge difference for someone, like Trevin Hunte who was told by a teacher that he’d never make it in music. Seeing Ceelo believe in Trevin and Trevin stand a little taller because of it is why I keep watching The Voice.
For writers, it’s the same. We work in isolation — just us, a head full of characters and a computer (or pen and paper if you’re old school). Doubts are a constant companion for all writers, even the most successful. In an interview, Sue Grafton once said that when she wrote A is for Alibi, she didn’t think it would be successful enough for a second book, and with each novel since, that same fear — that this one would be the last — crept into her head. Her V is for Vengeance was published last year!
What writers need, like all artists, are champions who believe in them, support them when times are tough and push them forward when they think about quitting. Champions like the coaches on The Voice.
So, could we have a version of The Voice for writers? A bunch of on-the-verge-of-being-published novelists reading their work to four agents who slap their buttons, lighting up the coveted “I Want You” sign. How great would that be?
I don’t know how well it would play on TV. But it would be awesome to have people saying “I Want You.” It’s a long road for many writers before they sign with an agent and/or get a publishing contract. Until we have that kind of support, we can be champions for each other. We can slap “I Want You” buttons for our fellow writers, believing in them and pushing them forward.
I’m blessed to part of an amazing writing community in Austin, Texas, as well as a member of the wonderful Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. When doubts invade my mind, and that happens too often, I have people to turn to, family, a fabulous husband and great writer friends. Find those people for yourself and be that person for others. Be someone’s champion every day.