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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Lessons from "Dancing With the Stars"

I’ve never been a huge TV fan. As a kid, I preferred reading. When I grew up, the schedules and homework of four boys kept me scattered in too many directions. Even now, with an empty nest, I don’t find much to interest me. Most of my TV experience has come in late-night reruns of Cheers and Seinfeld. Very exciting life I lead, huh?
However, a couple of years ago, I started watching Dancing With the Stars, and I was hooked. The only thing was, you had to keep up or you wouldn’t know what happened. Voila! We became the owners of a DVR last winter, and now I could watch at my leisure.
A new season started a few weeks ago, and as usual, I had other things to do, so I decided not to indulge this year. Then, flipping through the “List” of our recorded shows, I noticed that the DVR remembered to record all episodes of “Dancing.” So, I’m caught up again, and I love it.
Marie Osmond blows me away every week with her dramatic interpretations. Sweet little Marie who has birthed eight children and looks great (even better now that the grueling practice has knocked off a few pounds).
Wayne Newton’s been voted off already, but how endearing that he didn’t let age keep him from trying.
There have been Superman and Elvis impersonations, Jives that knock your socks off, Quick Steps, and last week, the romantic Viennese Waltz.
So, what does this have to do with writing? Here’s what I’ve figured out.
  • You’re never too old to try.
  • Exercising my inner core and learning new steps translates to listening the that voice within and digging deep into books on the craft of writing.
  • Blood, sweat, and tears bring untold rewards. Writing, rewriting, and polishing my manuscripts bring great personal satisfaction and maybe someday, a contract.
  • Be bold. The most successful dancing stars are the ones who step out of their comfort zones and try new things. God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy l:7 Oh, that our words might be powerful and lovely and wise.
  • Tension. For a minute and a half, all eyes are on the couple on the floor. You know their knees are knocking and their insides are a mess, but that’s what adds to the excitement. Tension on every page! Writers know what that means.
  • Sometimes you stumble. A couple of weeks ago, one of the couples bobbled at the end of their dance. Fell flat on the floor. I’ve had days (even weeks) like that—where nothing seemed to work. The following week, that couple came back and danced flawlessly. It’s like my dad always told me. “When you fall off the horse, you get right back on.”
  • Let the music begin! Love songs, jazzy numbers, and full-orchestra melodies stir my emotions. So should our words strike chords in our readers.
  • Laugh and cry together. Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep. Rom. 12:15. Have you noticed that when a couple is sent home, the others gather around for a final dance? That’s what we as writers have—a community that supports one another and cares.
  • Have fun! Life is just better when you take time to have some fun. Sometimes it doesn’t really matter who wins or loses. The look of sheer enjoyment on the dancers’ faces says it all.

    I don’t really have a “favorite” star this year, but I must say, the women seem to outshine the men this go round. I had to attend a meeting tonight, but thanks to the DVR, I’ll be catching the results of week four later on. Please don’t tell me what happened. I like surprise endings!


Erica Vetsch said...

What a wonderful analogy. I enjoyed reading it very much. :)

One More Writer said...

Isn't it amazing the things we can learn by watching others? Thanks for the encouraging words this morning.

Myra Johnson said...

Yea, another DWTS fan! We are totally hooked at my house. This season it seems the voting viewers are getting their heads on straight and paying attention to dancing skill, not just popularity or sympathy (a la Jerry Springer). So, hey, let's get publishers on the same page (pun intended). It's about time they paid attention to the very talented newbies waiting to take the floor!

carla stewart said...

I'll tell you all a secret. The first year I watched, I was one of the crazed millions who voted! Cast all of my allowed email votes for . . . ta da! Emmitt Smith. Loved, loved, loved to watch that "Cowboy" dance. My kids thought I might need therapy. I haven't felt "called" to vote since then, but who knows?

The Koala Bear Writer said...

If I had a TV, this would be a show I'd watch. Loved your analagies here... great lessons for writing. Thanks for sharing!