I caught an episode of A&E’s Private Sessions with Alanis Morissette, and boy, was it amazing. Alanis is one of my all-time FAVORITE singers and will remain so whether she puts out an album or not. She reminded me why, too.
During her interview, she said something the really struck me. I’m paraphrasing this because I was in the kitchen at the time frying bacon and toasting waffles and nowhere near a piece of paper to write it down. Anyway, she said something like she isolated herself from what people had to say about her, both good and bad, by going into her studio to work. Why? Because when you start to listen to what others are saying, in a sense, they censor what you have to say. In other words, it can become a feeding frenzy for your inner critic.
A glutton of information exists out there and everyone has an opinion about everything. Some people like what you write while others don’t. Then, we sometimes fall in the trap of carving out our stories to meet their needs and wants, including those of the market. After both consciously and unconsciously doing this very thing, I’ve taken drastic measures over the past year to protect my creativity by “going into my studio to work.”
I think author Allen Wold said it best when he said, “Never change your work to suit anyone else’s needs unless they’re handing you pay check.” That’s where musician and writers differ a tad. Eventually, we have to fix our work so that it will sell. But unless it’s under guidance of someone you really trust, you should only change what you feel comfortable with.
As authors, we tend to listen to everything related to the market because we think somewhere in that mishmash is the key to getting published. That could be the case, but I refuse to take a Holy Grail approach toward it. If I did, then I’m sure to censor myself without realizing it and that won’t work. 😉
So who’s your Alanis Morissette? What person outside of writing (or what you love) strikes a cord with your writing dreams and why?