Happy August y'all! How has the chaos been treating you? My siblings and I have decided that the theme of this summer is "The Lord Works in Mysterious Ways." No, this is not a good thing and honestly, I'd personally like to sit down with the nailed god and talk about his decision making paradigm, because it sucks. Big time.
There have been a few *good* moments scattered here and there, one of which was visiting my nephews and learning they have discovered All That, Big Time Rush, and Victorious and how excited they were when I was like I LOVE THEM TOO! We watched a lot of episodes...
One of which was season 1 episode 2 of Victorious, "The Bird Scene." Despite it being so early in the show's history and we the viewers still adjusting to the utter mayhem of this show, it ranks as one of my favorite. If you haven't watched it, GO DO IT NOW!!! (it's streaming on Netflix) I personally believe this episode should be mandatory watching for all creatives.
To refresh your brains, Tori has just been admitted to Hollywood Arts and she wants to audition for a role in an upcoming play. But alas! She's not allowed to audition until she performs, and passes, The Bird Scene. She memorizes her lines, performs it, and when she asks if she did a good job and passed, Sikowitz tells her that she's failed. As the show progresses, each new attempt gets more elaborate, but she continues to fail. Until finally, at the end, she argues back, saying she did a good job and she doesn't care if her drama teacher, Sikowitz, fails her. She believes she did a good job. At which point Sikowitz and the rest of the class applaud and she passes! Lesson learned! (enjoy the short ballet moment at the beginning, those boys got what they deserved for not taking ballet seriously)
Here's why I love this episode and how I strive to embrace it in my creative endeavors. Throughout the process, at the end of each attempt at The Bird Scene, Tori asks, "was it good?" She's seeking outside validation on her art, her performance. Each attempt was excellent--but it wasn't until she rebuked her need for outside validation that she passed. In the writing world, it's a lesson that we need to not only learn, but be reminded of repeatedly.
Writing, like any creative pursuit, is a tough gig. We're told to be proud of what we write, to be confident in our skills, but all that pride and confidence isn't what gets us an agent or a publishing deal. Because that involves someone else validating our work and seeing us a someone who could make them money. It doesn't matter how much I believe in my work or myself, if someone else doesn't feel the same way, I'm outta luck.
I still have to keep that confidence burning in my heart and soul. Even when I get passes from agents or when I get a critique on my writing style, because I have to believe at my core that I'm worth it. I deserve to be published, but deserve has nothing to do with it. If people got what they deserved, this world would be a whole lot different than it is now.
Watching The Bird Scene episode was a reminder that it's up to me to stoke that fire. In The Bird Scene, Tori doesn't get help from any of her classmates, despite her attempts to trick them into telling her the secret--they know it's something she has to realize on her own. I've been lucky enough to collect a fantastic support group of writing buddies over the years, and they are so very, very good to me. They give me the outside validation I need when I get bad news or when I doubt myself, but I need to be my first defense. I need to stoke the fires of my confidence and keep them simmering in the wintery void of agent rejections.
I've written blog posts similar to this one in the past and I'll write more in the future because we all need to be reminded to BELIEVE IN OURSELVES and that our validation has to start from within. When the bad brain gremlins start to poke at me, I read back chapters or scenes from my manuscripts that I love, that I'm most proud of--my own personal "bird scene." I write stories so that my readers can see bits and pieces of themselves in them. But I write for myself first. I write because I love it. Because I'm damn good at it. Because I want to share these stories and characters.
So, I challenge you to find your own "bird scene" and to reference it whenever you need to. Publishing might demand outside validation, but writing does not. Believe in yourself. Know that you are worth it and that at the end of the day, the only person who's opinion truly matters is your own.
Go forth and write my foxy folx! I'm here to let you know that you're doing a damn fine job and that the world NEEDS your words! Drop a comment and tell me how amazing you are or what your personal "bird scene" is!