Last week, my daughter’s ADEC choir (all-district elementary choir) had the honor of performing in front of the Texas Music Educators Association Convention. They were one of eight elementary choirs chosen in the state. I have to say, I’m so impressed that my daughter made it this far with her gene pool. I’m tone deaf, and her dad sounds like…uh… well…*coughs into hand* he sounds better than me.
Driving from Dallas to San Antonio was a trek, but I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
The whole choir experience made me think about my blog post. ADEC is a qualifying choir. My daughter had to try out at her school before moving on to the next level; auditioning at the high school.
When I was a sixth-grader, I would never have cleared the first hurdle: putting myself out there. Singing in front of people by myself? No way. As a writer, that's exactly what we must do. But our words are written, instead of sung. Our practice "matching pitch" is perfecting the craft of writing and finding our voice. And we try out in front of trusted critique partners, in preparation for agents and publishers.
If writing with the intent to publish, at some point your writing will have other eyes. While we writerly types count on an agent, critique partners, and beta readers, for help, once the book is sent, it's out there for everyone to see. And just like music, there's a lot of subjectivity related to taste. What one person loves, another may not.
Our job as writers is to follow Janet Wrenn’s advice and Research Before Submitting; find the right eyes, or ears, before launching yourself out there. Remember, even if you feel like you’re standing there in your underwear, the person reading your words is wearing underwear, too. If they aren’t, well, that’s another blog post.
And if you do have to sing, or write alone, it’s nice to know your friends are rooting for you. Because you have to take that first step, putting yourself out there.