Last post, I mentioned that I’d explain about laying groundwork, within the lines of a writer’s career.
That time is now. But I’m going to do that in a way that’s unrelated to writing, or at least looks that way.
About a month ago, I went to a symphony concert. I’ve been to a few of these over the years, and I enjoy it, every time.
But the first few concerts I went to were a wee bit depressing, for a special reason I’ll get to in a minute.
But I’m leaving out an important part…
Years ago, I played with this same symphony. I spent a lot of time on that stage, squinting at the bright lights, and trying not to pass out while wearing a bow tie. I helped give people a rich musical experience, and along with a lot of others, gave them a break from life, if only for a few minutes.
A concert is a lot like a writer’s career, and here’s why…
Most people see the end result of something. With writers, they see the book signings, names on the bestseller lists, thousands of ebook downloads, and so on.
With musicians, they see a great concert.
And in either case, for most people, that’s it.
At a gut level, a lot of people know that there’s more prep work to a concert or writing career than that. But sometimes people don’t know (or don’t care) about the details behind that prep work.
And I’d like to give you an inside look at a musician’s prep work, from someone who’s been onstage, as well as in the audience.
Those spring and fall concerts (one of each) were the result of a long process. Things like:
A rehearsal with the whole symphony, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. every Monday night during a semester, for about three months or so before a concert, with the last Monday’s rehearsal being done, if possible, inside the hall where we’d perform
About one hour (for me) of private practice per day, five days a week (hats off to any violinists out there, or other instrumentalists, with pages and pages of music who practice more than that)
On concert day, about a one hour dry run of the music, in the order we’d be playing it, with a special focus on any hard spots
Having to wear a bow tie, black pants, and a white shirt on concert day
Here’s the thing, though–I wouldn’t have missed any of it. That’s why it gave me a twinge to be in the audience the first few times.
I wanted to be down on the stage, eyeball-deep in a great piece of music, blending my sound with the trumpet section, the brass section, and the symphony as a whole.
But I moved past that slight depression and letdown, eventually.
Remember that a writer’s work is seldom done? For musicians, it’s the same thing. They’re always practicing, studying, and more–even the music pros who have been playing their instrument for years.
And for writers, that prep work is writing, revising and editing, submitting fiction to magazines or self-publishing, writing, studying the craft, going to a conference or two, and what-have-ya. Oh, and more writing. Did I mention that?
For copywriters, a lot of the above applies, except for the submitting part–that’s more along the lines of marketing your services, or creating your own products, or both.
And that doesn’t begin to cover all the options for fiction writers and copywriters to get the word out, get exposure, and make money, either for themselves or their clients.
And with all that, I forgot the most important similarity between being a musician and being a writer…
Do a good job, and people enjoy it a lot.
So the next time you hear a piece of beautiful music (symphony, pop, or what-have-ya that you enjoy), think about how that’s similar to your own writer’s journey–heck, your own life journey.
And then prepare to be inspired.
Until next time,