I went to a Fitz and the Tantrums concert last Saturday, and it pretty much changed my life. How? Besides being an amazing show, it taught me some great lessons that could be applied to my writing.
1. You Have to Wait
I think I must be getting old, because waiting is getting hard. I keep thinking, "Time is money, people! Get a move on." In college, I could wait in lines for concerts for hours. Now I get impatient if it is more than a half hour. The comedy of this was only exacerbated by the fact that I would grouch about the wait from the balcony. Like I was Statler or Waldorf. But was the wait worth it? Oh yeah. It was one of the best concerts I had seen in my life. You also have to wait with your writing career. You might not get accepted by the first agent or publishing house you query. Your first book might be greeted by the sound of crickets. You have to push on. Success might not come right away, but it will with persistence. And it will totally be worth the wait.
2. Look Around You
I learned so much about teen style from this concert. The girls are apparently wearing these buns that rest directly on top of their heads. And wear shirts that show their bellies with high-waisted pants. I may be dating myself, but high-waisted pants?! This did help me with the clothes my characters will wear in my young adult novel. Similarly, keep your eyes peeled. You will never know where you can get information or inspiration for your novel.
3. Restraint Is Important
There was an opening act, and I give them enormous credit for putting themselves out there. It is a brave thing to do. However, they weren't the strongest band I have ever seen perform. Why? The lead singer was thrashing his body around the stage as if he were inspired by watching David Byrne perform "Once in a Lifetime" on fast-forward (does that still exist, by the way?). As a result, he could barely sing and none of the moves particularly stood out. On the other hand, Fitz (the leader singer) was deliberate with his movements. He made sure he preserved his breath and made the moves stand out by limiting them. When it comes to imagery and metaphors, have restraint. It will make your images really pop instead of getting lost in a sea of them, and you will save yourself from creative exhaustion.
4. Connection is Everything
I felt really connected to Fitz. Want to know why? He actually looked at me when he was singing. No, he didn't stare me down the whole concert (that would be a totally different blog post...), but he would look at me for a few seconds for every other song. He did this for pretty much everyone that he could see. He took time to spend a few minute looking directly at every audience member. He didn't just sweep the crowd with his eyes or stare at the wall. This made the audience feel special and made us huge fans. How do this apply to your writing? Write for one person. Imagine someone you know and write for him or her. Will this leave people out? Not really. I felt more connected to Fitz by seeing him connect with other people. It made him seem more human. Also, in writing, people cannot physically see who you are thinking about, so they will think you are writing to them. It is the classic "we are standing next to each other in a concert so we think the singer is singing to both of us" syndrome.
5. Have the Right Purse
Okay, I pulled the most rookie move ever: I brought a purse that did not have a strap that went across my body. Instead, I had a purse that went over my shoulder. This seriously cramped my dancing style and made me paranoid that a hipster would grab my purse. Can you imagine the number of records that would be bought with my credit card? Just as you want to make sure your pursue is dance-friendly, you also want to ensure that it is writing-friendly. Do you have a large enough bag to carry a notebook and a pen? While people will make arguments that the cellphone is king, there is nothing like writing by hand to get the juices flowing. Besides, it guarantees that everything is in the same place.
Want to connect with me the way Fitz did on Saturday? Book a "Novel Idea" session with me here. We can chat about the ideas in your notebook, what those crazy kids are wearing, or sing "Fools Gold" together.