Friday, January 25, 2008

How One TV Show Sums it All Up

Tip of the Day: Make sure you remind your family to be at the book signing *when it starts* if they want to hear your talk.

Yes, despite the fact that my mother didn’t get to hear me practicing for the Oprah show, the book signing went well.

The heart-shaped cookies I brought were delicious, I made it through the talk without throwing up, and we sold about 40 books. Not bad, I suppose.

If you recall, my talk was comparing writing to a TV show. I know you've lost sleep all week wondering WHAT TV show this could be. Project Runway, perhaps, where we might compare cutting fabric to cutting words? Nope. Maybe American Idol, where we might say a good critique group is more helpful than Simon could ever be? Not that one either.

No, I compared writing to the show, The Biggest Loser. Have you watched that one? This season, twelve couples are working their tushes off and eating cardboard so they can weigh in each week and see who lost the most weight and who lost the least amount of weight. I know, you're thinking I must have some really whacked writing routine or something.

Let me tell you how this show is a lot like my world of writing:

• With 200+ rejections to my name and counting, there are days I often feel like The Biggest Loser. I took a trip down memory lane, and shared a few of these with the audience.
• The people on the show had to get over their fear of whether they might fail and just DO IT. That’s what I had to do when I first started writing and submitting. It’s scary. You have to tell that negative voice to shut up, which isn’t an easy thing to do.

• They count calories like I count words. Yes, I know, the difference being, they cry tears of grief if they go over 2,000 calories in a day while I’m crying tears of joy if I get that many words! Still, we’re setting goals, keeping track, and counting. And when we have a bad day, we get up the next day and try again.

• They have trainers who know what it takes to get them back on that treadmill when they want to quit. Fortunately, my writer friends don’t yell like they yell, but when I’ve had a bad day or a bad week, my “trainers” know just what to say to get me back to the keyboard. Like this show, a good support system is crucial to my success.

• These people struggle with not comparing themselves to those around them. I’m sure it’s gotta be hard, knowing your working just as hard as someone else, and seeing them drop more pounds than you. In the writing world, I struggle with not comparing myself to others too. I finally decided awhile ago that I can’t do that, because so much of this crazy business is out of my control. What I can control is the writing. I can work hard to write the best book I can, and the rest, well, I have to keep the faith that I am on the right path for ME.

• The most amazing part of the show is when these people have to get on the scale, in front of the whole world, and show us their weight and how much they’ve lost or gained. Can you imagine? I think writing is a lot like that. We grow to love our characters. Our stories are personal, and to share them with the world is scary. What if people laugh and it’s not funny? What if people don’t see all of the hard work we’ve put in?

• The current season of The Biggest Loser doesn’t end for awhile. I don’t know who wins. But what I do know is that as each person leaves the show, he/she is a changed person. Most of them continue to work out and follow the path of a healthier lifestyle. And each of them is thankful for the time they spent at the campus.

It’s the same for most writers. Every story is not a winner, unfortunately. We get rejected far more than we get accepted. But we continue on the path. We keep writing. Because that’s what writers do. And when we’re in that zone, and the words, and yes, probably some sweat too, are flowing, there is nothing else like it in the world.

And regardless of whether we win or not, like those people who get kicked off and continue to work out and lose weight, we understand there is no going back.

Because words give us life.

~Lisa, Miss Pinch Me I'm Pubbed


Kate Fall said...

Lisa, this is such a wonderful, touching post! I should put it up over my monitor. It's true that sticking to the path is tough, but there's no going back. I wish I couldv'e seen your talk. It sounds like it was fantastic and I'm so glad you posted it.

DeenaML said...

The Biggest Loser is the perfect analogy. I COMPLETELY feel you on that. Great post!

Emily Marshall said...

Excellent comparison to the Biggest Loser. Great post, Lisa. I'm so glad the signing went well.

Kristina Springer said...

Wonderful post Lisa!! And so true-- this is really an inspiring post! I wish I could have been at your signing!

Ghost Girl (aka, Mary Ann) said...

Beautiful, Lisa...just beautiful! I'm so glad your signing went well. Now you're a pro!

Lisa Schroeder said...

Ah, thanks so much!!!