Wednesday, 17 October 2012

The X-Factor Paradox

Hey, It's me again.

It has been over a week since I have even touched my laptop after completing version two of my story/book. I decided I needed a break away from the never ending flashing cursor on my screen, but now I'm back and ready to do it all over again and this time I will be working on version 3 of my story/book.

Just for my own benefit as I'm not entirely sure anyone reads this, but below is a page count of both versions.

Version 1 - 391 Pages - 26 Chapters
Version 2 - 359 Pages - 22 Chapters

I'm not sure if this is consistent or even the correct way of doing things. To be honest I have only just really started to research the art of writing and other writers, as I wanted, no that's wrong, as I needed to make sure that before I started trawling the interweb for help and guidance I had to make sure that the idea of me writing was more than just an idea. And now, whether I believe it or not, I think that I have shown sufficient commitment for me to perhaps look at asking someone else to read what it is I have written.

The idea of giving it to someone else to read genuinely fills me with a very serious feeling of dread. What if what I have written is shit? How do I know that I could have made just as good an effort by repeatedly writing the sentence 'I am a mole that lives in a hole.' I have tried to imagine what I would do if someone I knew asked me to read something that they had spent months working/writing on, only to discover that I didn't think it was very good. How do you tell someone that?

The X-Factor Paradox

It was for that very reason that I haven't told anyone, except now, what it is I am trying to do. My wife didn't really know until a few months ago just how serious I was about trying to achieve whatever it is I am trying to do, I'm not even sure myself if truth be told, what I hope to gain from this experience/experiment.

I remember a few years ago a very good friend of mine told me that she was thinking of auditioning for the X-Factor and would I mind listening to her sing to see what I thought. I'll admit that I was flattered that she would ask me for my opinion, in the past I had played guitar and sung in a few bands, nothing massive, but I loved doing it. Gigging was amazing, the feeling I would get when I knew that the band was performing well and that the crowd was really enjoying us. I would recommend to anyone and everyone to take up an instrument and get on stage with it, just once, (something else I can tick off my bucket list), anyway, I guess that because she had seen me sing and play in my band a few times, she must have thought I would be able to advise her.
Now I don't claim to be any kind of expert when it comes to music, (although I abhor chart music, sorry), but I will happily watch anyone play and sing live, for no other reason than it takes bottle to get up on stage in front of people and give it everything you've got.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, my friend turned out to be not as talented as she may have thought. I listened intently for three and a half minutes as she belted out her favourite song and whilst I applauded her conviction and obvious passion for singing, how was I supposed to tell her that I didn't think it was a good idea to audition. The only reason I thought she shouldn't audition though was because I didn't want four apparently professional music moguls (Louis Walsh? I shake my head with bewilderment) tearing her off a strip and telling her she was no good.

When she had finished singing her song there was a deathly silence as she waited for my opinion. What was I supposed to do? Here was my friend asking for my honest opinion and I knew that if she auditioned she would be devastated when she got the four 'No's' that I knew she would receive. So I did the only thing I felt I could do, I chickened out and told her that she wasn't bad, but she could do with some practice. I showed her a few exercises that I used when I was in my band and told her to practice every day.

And that's exactly what she did, practicing almost religiously. A few months went by and I had forgotten about her audition if I was to be honest, when she came back and asked me to critique her again. In all fairness she had gotten slightly better, this time she was almost in time with the tune and her pitching, whilst not anywhere near to what it should have been had improved, but still I knew what was eventually going to happen. I tried to convince her to give it a year, see if she could get in or start a band, allowing her time to get experience, etc. But she was very keen to audition. This time I promised myself that I would be brutally honest and tell her what I thought, but like most blokes I bottled out.

My friend went to the audition; I was unable to go with her. She got the four 'No's' that I knew she would, Simon Cowell even commented on just how bad he thought she was and asked her why her friends and family would allow her to embarrass herself like that? She was devastated and has since never tried to sing again. My friend never blamed me for letting her go (although I wouldn't have been surprised if she had), but the way I see it, if you enjoy doing something that doesn't hurt anyone who has the right to say whether you are good at it or not?


And I think it's a big but, what if you're wasting your time chasing dreams that never become anything more than that, a dream? To Spend hundreds of hours working on something that will eventually turn out to be nothing more than a waste of time, time that could be put to better use. And that's how I look at this writing experiment. Singing, for example, is something anyone can do and most people do do it, some without even knowing that they are. How many times has a tune come on your MP3 player or the radio and you've found yourself singing along to it. It takes no effort really, not unless it's your lively-hood then I assume it takes up quite a lot of your time, but if you're singing for a living, then that normally means that you are one of the lucky few that has managed to do what you love for a living.

What if what I am writing/doing is ridiculous and stupid and all I'm doing is burning through hours that I could be using for something else. And all because someone I asked for help doesn't feel they have the heart to tell me what it is I'm doing is shit and a waste of time? I suppose I could spend the rest of my life blaming that person, LOL.

But like my friend with her X-Factor audition, I suppose I won't know unless I give it a damn good go, I just hope that whatever the response is, it doesn't ever put me off writing for good. I take rejection quite badly. I suppose there's only one way to find out...

Oh and by the way, my friend with the X-Factor audition isn't me I swear. I wouldn't put myself through that kind of turmoil. I'm afraid I'm a bit old school like that, it's only my opinion and we all know what they say about opinions, they're like arseholes, everyone's got one, but the way I see it, if you want to be good at something and reap the rewards, you have to put your time in first and pay your dues. How can you appreciate what you've got if you've never had to earn it?

Anyway, enough from me today at this rate I'll never get started with version 3. Wish me luck.

Take care, but above all, stay cool. x

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