Waiting for that four chair turn

This afternoon I was watching an episode of The Voice that I missed last week, just generally enjoying the massive amount of talent people have. I’ve always liked The Voice better than American Idol or some of the other shows out there where part of the show and ratings is mocking people and tearing the down. With The Voice, even when artists aren’t picked for teams, the judges have kind and constructive words for them, and will encourage them to work on things and try again.

One of those people did. She tried out and no chairs turned, and she got so discouraged that she stopped singing for six months. Singing in church brought her back around and helped her build up her confidence, and she worked on the things the judges suggested and came back. The result: THE FOUR CHAIR TURN. Watch!

If you don’t want to watch her beautiful audition, skip ahead to 2:00, when Adam says something that I LOVE.

Adam: I have a question for you.
Deanna: Yes?
A: How many chairs turned around for you the first time you were here?
D: None.
A: How many turned around this time?
D: Four! *nervous giggles*
A: I am so overjoyed by the fact that somebody got turned down, and came back, and FOUR CHAIRS turned.

Then later, as they’re fighting over who she should pick, Adam says, “And I will also tell you this.  My honest opinion is there are definitely some things that I heard that needed a little bit of work. My goal is to make you better. That’s how I work with my team… Not everybody likes to hear that. …It’s the people that like to hear it that are the ones who go the distance.”

In the end Deanna chose Adam for those words, for his honesty. And it just resonated with me so much, because how often are we tempted to give up because we get criticism? Because we are told that what we’ve done isn’t actually perfect the first or second or tenth time that we try?

I’ve been watching the #PitchMadness feed over the past week or so, and it’s looked like a lot of fun. In some ways I miss the excitement, and the opportunities for connection that being in a contest together create. Today the picks were announced, and I KNOW. I know those feels for people who weren’t picked! I entered Pitch Madness at least twice and didn’t make it. Not to mention the many other contests I entered and didn’t get picked for.

Each time I was passed over for a contest, I had a choice. I could have chosen to quit, to decide I wasn’t good enough, I was never going to make it, no one would ever understand my true genius. Or I could take what I learned, find more great writing/critique partners to give some honest feedback, and keep forging ahead, applying constructive criticism, honing my craft.

If you’ve kept up, you know which route I took.

And it’s still hard! Reading the good but honest edits from an agent and editor are just as difficult, even when you already know they like the writing and the story! But there are so many opportunities for growth, and who knows? Maybe the next time around you’ll get that four chair turn, that spot in the contest, that request for a full manuscript, that call from an agent.

It’s just around the corner. Now go get it.

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