What I've learned from Reality TV

I told myself I wasn’t going to watch another reality show, but last night Dancing With The Stars beckoned and I couldn’t resist its siren call. I like this season’s line up. I didn’t watch last season with any dedication. I think they were smart to move it to Monday nights. Although I think it’s too early to comment on all the individual performances, my first prediction for departure: Mr. Achy Breaky himself.

I have a fellow writer I talk to quite frequently that I find myself encouraging her through her disappointments with well worn phrases like, “don’t worry it only takes one editor to love your stuff, and you tell amazing stories with great writing.” While I know she believes me, she doesn’t have any confidence in her luck (and I do believe that getting published is as much about luck as it is about talent, skill and endurance).

I think I’m so fascinated by reality shows where the contestants are competing to win their dream career (instead of money) because the process resonates with me. When someone sings off key on American Idol or has a really dreadful photo shoot (because she has collapsed into a weeping puddle or just stopped trying) on America’s Next Top Model (ANTM), I can sympathize with how hard it is to reach for a dream, possess that sparkle of talent, but either not be able to execute it or not have your voice appeal to the right people.

But if ANTM has taught me anything it’s that passion, personality, hard work and market savvy will win out over raw talent any day.

I know a hopeful pre-pub that we used to tease about hovering at conferences poised to pounce on editors. Now, this isn’t a recommended tactic by any means, but I rather liked the image of her determination and willingness to put herself out there. She is now published and owes some of that achievement to perseverance.

Today’s Goal: Write 2 pages
Yesterday’s Achievement: Wrote 4 pages
What I’m grateful for: The chance to write all evening when my daughter spends the night with her grandparents.