September 24th, 2014

idol 9

Green Room - Week 22 - Day 6

Congratulations to a "certain winner of Season 8" for her "Honorable Mention" in the Mark Twain Humor Writing Contest. That's a pretty big deal.

It is especially cool given that it was with an piece originally written for LJ Idol!

Which puts it in the pile of "works originally for Idol" that have ended up appearing in various literary publications, anthologies and a course a major media viral onslaught or three. (including pieces that have ended up in TIME and the Washington Post)

I don't mention this to brag.

Well, OK, to totally do mean to brag. Because the writers who pass through these cyber halls are *worth* bragging about.

What they do during the competition - and what they do after, as a result of having been in Idol, that's worth highlighting now and again.

So are the people who show up because they want to write some stuff and have some fun. They come in with a different mindset and a different plan for what they want to do with their writing. When they meet their goals, that is worth praising as well.

There are as many different ways of looking at Idol - at competing in Idol - as there are contestants. Winning means different things to everyone. Which I think is great, because it is just one more component to this diverse mix that we have, and part of "being successful" in Idol is figuring out where you fit in: What do you want out of this, and are you focused enough to get it?

Which means if you are just trying to write entries and have fun: Are you making deadlines and interacting with your fellow contestants?

If you want to write entries with hope of using them for latter sale: Are you using the topics in such a way as to give you material for that?

If you "want to win": What is your plan to do that?

One of the bigger hangups I've seen over the years, that never ceases to confuse me - is when someone says "This is what Idol is about"... and someone else comes along and *believes them*. Because that person isn't making some blanket statement. They are making a personal one. That is what Idol is about *for them*. It's what *they* are willing to put into it.

It's like someone saying "I only had time to read my friends list" this week and coming along and assuming that *everyone* was doing that, all the time. Or "humor doesn't do well"... sure, they can say "this or that entry didn't work at *that time for some reason." but over the years, there are plenty of funny entries that *have* done well. It just takes the right person to do it at the right moment for that "established fact" to explode all over the place.

What got me thinking about this was that I was just going through my old emails, searching for a specific item and came across one that I had completely forgotten about. (I think they had some search terms in common). It was from someone who was really unhappy because they "thought they were in a writing competition" but that it was "really just about (name redacted) using her friends list to decide who was going every week"/"a popularity contest".

Why did he think that? Because someone mentioned that so-and-so was doing well, and had a large friends list - and that anything he did wasn't people enjoying his work, and giving him votes, but rather her evil plot to get rid of someone else.

This was (maybe) Season 6. So the details aren't as important as the message. We talked for quite some time, back and forth, but once he was given an excuse to think that there was something wrong with his own writing, it was something he never let go of.... his success wasn't due to his efforts any more than his failures would be. It was all decided by this one person and their whims. It made me sad at the time, and it was even worse looking back on it, and remembering how much I, personally, had enjoyed his work and tried to tell him that. It is especially frustrating being the guy who sees all the votes. So I knew exactly how "influential" she was, and it wasn't anywhere near what was being assumed.

But that was the narrative he chose to believe. Because it was easier for him to think that way.

How you approach Idol is going to end up impacting your overall experience and what you ultimately get out of it. (Whatever that might be!)

I *want* you to have fun. Hopefully, you are - and maybe getting some other long term benefits from it as well.

If you *are* having fun - and want other people to join in and have some as well: That's what Last Chance Idol is all about: (well, it's about me torturing new people - but don't tell them that! That's part of *my* fun!)

Oh yeah - there is also a topic due TOMORROW: for those in the main competition. So get to it!!