Okay so, while I was hanging upside down juggling stories in my head, I decided to do other things. I entertained the crap out of myself with a book I want to talk about next week, and I did a LOT of singing. Like, nearly 4 hours one night. I was scared I bruised my vocals cords. (I did not, fyi, but they were worn out for a couple of days.)
So my singing voice is inconsistent. Irregardless, I love recording myself and listening back to it so I can critique myself and improve or just listen to myself because sometimes it’s sounds pretty good. I don’t sing a whole lot so sometimes I cringe when I listen to myself. On the flip side, sometimes I give myself chills, and I’m literally amazed at what my computer is spitting back out at me.
I had one of these, “I’m so freaking amazing” moments last week. I got on YouTube to find some showtunes karaoke, and I totally got lost on there. I ended up finding all these amazing duet parts by all these talented people, and I just had myself a field day. It was great practice trying to sing in sync with someone else. I have a tendency to showboat when I sing at home, so it was a bit challenging, in a fun way, learning how to control that. Lol! I was so sad I couldn’t sing all the ones I found, but I was about to fall out.
After 3 hours of singing, I was sure I was going to start sounding more and more like crap. I can’t half hear myself over the music, you know. And I didn’t! I was so surprised. I mean, certain notes were starting to suffer, but I was listening to myself sing and I was like, DUDE, if I sound that good as sporadically as I sing, I bet I can write like 5x to 10x better. Because that I do A LOT. Like, I can just imagine how much better I’ll be able to sing a few months from now if I do it more frequently.
And I started thinking…I can write, you know. Minus the first few novels I attempted, I can find something good in everything I’ve written. Explosiveness. Energy. Action. Emotion. There’s some awesomefied dialogue and description and some characters that truly rock my world. When I first looked at everything I keep doing wrong, I felt really bad you know. But I realized…I know all this now…so there’s no reason to fall apart. I just attack it like I’m awesome like I do when I sing. And when I’m singing, if I mess up, I fix it. So in my stories, if there’s too much going on, one of the biggest problems I tend to have, I edit things down.
My sister put it this way: It’s like on Project Runway, they like sequins and feathers and lace and ruffles so they put it all on one dress and there ends up just being too much going on and the dress is all tacky or gross. She said my stories were like that. Lol! And I agree. So I edit the feathers and lace out, and shave off a few sequins while I’m at it. You know it took me a year, a FREAKING year to take the component out of Petra’s story that I knew didn’t belong as soon as I put it in there. But I liked it. So I spent several months trying to make it work. Finally one day last month I was like, “This is dumb. Just take it out. The story will be so much better and less stupid for it.” So yeah, if it doesn’t fit, CUT IT. If there’s too many embellishments, CUT them off. If there’s a character that isn’t cooperating, CUT them. Lol! And if I can’t write the story without them, then you know what, the entire story has to go. Because I’m not doing that to myself anymore.
I keep stuffing everything I like into one story like it’s the only story I’ll ever write, the only chance I’ll ever get. One sweep through the story graveyard will remind me, and quite harshly so, that this is simply not the case. I have written a lot of stories. And I will write MANY more. I can put lace and feathers in the next story.
And one last singing metaphor…I can’t sing all kinds of music. I do best with musicals and ballads and symphonic rock. A lot of pop music sounds like crap when I sing it. Part of that is a passion thing. I like dancing to pop music, I don’t want to sing it (kind of hard to showboat to some of those songs). And writing is like that too. I can’t write everything. I’m a great writer, but if I try to write a murder mystery, it’s going to be a hot mess, and I’m going to think I suck. It’s like that quote by Albert Einstein:
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
I’ve been thinking that I suck and hitting my head against the wall because I was writing stories I didn’t need to be writing, making mistakes I was too afraid to admit I was making, and putting up with characters who were taking advantage of the fact that I loved them. Well, there is more where you came from buddy! Muh-haha.
ahem So yeah…I can totally do this. I can write a book. And it’s a heck of a lot easier than trying to hit that high note in The Phantom of the Opera…which I will do one day. (Hear that vocal cords!…when you’re all better, I mean…) ^_^
To my amazement, this pep talk actually did help, and I am officially working on something I feel pretty darn good about it. (whoo hoo! Let’s flex some writer muscles!)