American Idol and Writing

Posted by Judy | 8:22 AM | 15 comments »

I confess. I’m one of those people who watch American Idol every week and tape it to make sure I don’t miss anything. I’ve had several people ask me why I like it and I tell them the truth. It inspires me to write better.

Huh? You might say.

Seriously, think about it. All the performers on the show are good singers or they wouldn’t make it to the final ten. Their voices must adapt to different song styles while remaining true to themselves. The judges listen to them sing and offer criticism—a lot of which is to give something more to the performance.

Beginning to sound familiar?

For me, the writing process, which is difficult at best, is about bringing different components to a story - honesty, emotion, brisk pacing, intriguing plot, etc. etc. Each of us has her/his own voice, history and style. But all of us are on a stage presenting what we’ve written to people who judge us.

In a way, I feel like I’m on the stage with those singers, listening carefully to what they are being told. And each time they grow and improve, I’m encouraged to think I can do the same-- reach down inside of me and give a little more to the words which are my songs.


  1. Mona Risk // April 18, 2011 at 11:13 AM  

    Judy, I never watch TV except for news and Grey's Anatomy, but I found your post to be very inspirational. Perseverance is the name of the game plus a good dose of hard work.

  2. Judy // April 18, 2011 at 12:21 PM  

    Thanks for your comment, Mona. Some days I need all the inspiration I can get in this crazy game of getting published!

  3. Mona Risk // April 18, 2011 at 12:24 PM  

    Judy, I am blogging about pitch at
    and had offered to help anyone who is working on a pitch for RWA or any conference.

  4. Beth Trissel // April 18, 2011 at 12:28 PM  

    Very good post. We find inspiration in many places. I haven't kept up with Idol this season but have watched many past seasons.

  5. Barbara Monajem // April 18, 2011 at 1:18 PM  

    I have never watched American Idol, partly because I don't enjoy TV in general -- I have a few favorite shows, but I don't even watch them much of the time. But what an inspirational post! Gotta keep digging and digging. :))

  6. Mary Marvella // April 18, 2011 at 3:49 PM  

    I do watch the show but don't panic when I miss one until they get down to the last three or so. I like watching people go after their dreams. Of course the voting is all about popularity. Still, making it to the show part should open up chances for a career for each contestant.

    We must keep working until we find the thing that makes us stand out.

  7. Judy // April 18, 2011 at 4:23 PM  

    Thanks, everyone. I don't watch much television either, but Idol and Castle are two that I go out of my way to see....

  8. Mary Marvella // April 18, 2011 at 7:14 PM  

    I watch Dancing with the Stars, too. Seeing the change in Kelly Obsorn was worth it!

  9. Tamara LeBlanc // April 19, 2011 at 7:49 AM  

    Great metaphor Judy!!
    I'm a big TV watcher, so I know how shows and movies can inspire the writing muse.
    I'm a huge Supernatural fan, and Sam and Dean Winchester inspire me to write better characters all the time...the brothers are also great eye candy! BONUS:)
    Have a great week!

  10. Judy // April 19, 2011 at 9:15 AM  

    Yes, Dancing with the Stars can be inspirational too. So funny, Tamara, but eye candy is good for writing too!

  11. Nightingale // April 19, 2011 at 3:26 PM  

    Inspiration is sometimes difficult to come by. I'm glad you can find it in your own way. I wish I had some inspiration on worldbuilding! My WIP is in need of worldbuilding and I'm floundering.

  12. Patrice // April 19, 2011 at 4:57 PM  

    Hi Judy,
    I'm one of the few people in the world who doesn't watch reality TV. But we certainly need perseverance in this biz, and a whole lot of luck thrown in too.

  13. Mary Ricksen // April 19, 2011 at 7:56 PM  

    You really have to work at this stuff don't ya?
    We're all in the same place and we all pay in hard work, hopefully returned!

  14. Autumn Jordon // April 20, 2011 at 9:21 AM  

    You're so right, Judy. Watching this show, I know exactly how they feel.

  15. Josie // April 28, 2011 at 3:50 PM  

    Like Mona, I don't watch TV, either, except for movies. I'm a musician, so appreciate the association between Idol and writing. This writing business takes perseverance with some luck thrown in for good measure.