Last weekend I went to a Salt-N-Pepa concert with my best friend, and it pretty much changed my life. I learned so much about writing (and life) from the concert that I knew I had to share some of my takeaways with you. I also thought about sharing my favorite music videos with you, but that would take way too much time.
Lesson #1: Do Not Spend Too Much Time on Exposition
Salt-N-Pepa had tons of opening acts before them (six), and it got a bit tedious. Sure, I was excited to hear Coolio sing in person, but I was there for Salt-N-Pepa. As much as I loved dancing to other acts and learning more about hip-hop, I was really frustrated by the time they came on stage. I mean, did I really have to suffer through Color Me Bad? Nobody wanted to listen to them then. People certainly don't want to hear them now. Instead of felt pumped up by the opening acts (the actual goal), I felt deflated and impatient.
The Takeaway: Limit the amount of time you spend on exposition. Try to get to the action as soon as possible in your story.
Lesson #2: It Is More than Okay to Be Polarizing
Salt-N-Pepa is all about girl power. They talked about women making money and running the White House. The guys in front of us were not all about it. They were complaining and kept asking their girlfriends if they could go home. Did Salt-N-Pepa care? Heck no! Why? Because my friend and I loved it. We were cheering and felt empowered by their statements. We were their audience, not guys who go to a concert because their girlfriends want to go.
The Takeaway: Write for a specific audience. Sure, you will get some haters, but your ideal people will absolutely love you. Don't be scared to just write for them, because it will resonate so much more than if you write for everyone.
Lesson #3: Know Your Limitations
Salt-N-Pepa are really famous for the "Push It" dance. They still did the dance at the concert, but they modified it a bit. They no longer did the hip thrust, because they are in their 50s. I admire them for knowing their limitations and adjusting their act accordingly.
The Takeaway: It is actually good to know your limitations with your writing. For example, I hate action scenes. Absolutely hate them. So I know I am not going to write a thriller or a horror novel any time soon. Instead of wasting time on something I am not going to improve in (and have no desire to), I can focus on what I am good at: young adult fiction.
Lesson #4: Write More About Friendships and Less About Romance
Other than what is in their music, Salt-N-Pepa did not talk about men (like I have heard at other concerts). No, they talked about friendship. When they told me to hug my best friend, I did it enthusiastically. It was so refreshing to celebrate my friends instead of my husband. (Not that I don't like doing that, but it was nice to mix it up. Yes, he does read this.)
The Takeaway: Do something different and refreshing for your genre or industry. If you are writing young adult fiction, write a book about friendship instead of a love triangle. If you are a life coach, try to use other words than "authentic" or "heart-centered."
Lesson #5: Get to the Venue At Least 30 Minutes Early
We got to the venue fifteen minutes early. That was not enough time. It was by the grace of God that we got a seat on the lawn. Plan ahead and arrive earlier than you think you should.
Takeaway: Plan ahead. Whether it means outlining a novel or making an editorial calendar, do things earlier than you think you should. Life has a way of throwing monkey wrenches in plans.
Tell me about your favorite concert in the comments below!