For the last two weeks I’ve been watching old eps of Project Runway.
Yeah, I know there’s plenty of better shows on Netflix, but I used to drive for half an hour to watch project Runway at my friend’s house (she had Foxtel), so I think it’s totally fine if I’m catching up now.
One of the challenges saw a snotty designer made a dress that wasn’t fantastic. Now I’ve watched thirty episodes in a row I’m getting quite good at knowing what will impress. His didn’t.
During the judge’s critique, the designed said ‘I put my heart and soul into this, I love it and I was really inspired by…. (blah blah blah, something fashiony).’
Someone, I think Heidi, says to him ‘This doesn’t resonate with us. Even though you have clearly put a lot of energy and emotion into the dress, in the end what matters is whether we like it.’
This often happens at the beginning of the season, Tim, or one of the judges, will give some advice and the designer will say something like, ‘that’s just your opinion.’ In the real world, someone disliking one of your creations can be hurtful, but yes, opinions don’t count for much. But when you are doing something on a professional level, or you expect someone to pay for your work, or you go on a reality television show, and experts offer their opinion: YES, IT MATTERS!
I think this applies very easily to writing.
For a long time I only wrote for myself. Things like my Medium blog and my journals are things I write because I’m inspired and it makes me happy. Do I care if people like it? Nope. Well, I might if they left me nasty comments, but I don’t have that many readers.
Finally, though, I decided that I wanted to be published, and some of my stories have been now. I also want to have novels published. I’d like to write for Harlequin/Mills & Boon someday. I want to do my PhD on young adult romance. And all of those things require expert opinion deciding whether or not what I’ve done resonates with their brand, their business plan or their academic field.
What I write has to be able to resonate with people, and by people I actually mean people who are experts in their field. Whether their opinion aligns with mine is irrelevant. The moment you step out from your personal bubble into a world where you expect to be paid for your skill, being open to feedback isn’t just crucial, it can and will happen.
(Also, I just saw a leopard print rotary cutter on Project Runway and it was amazeballs. Hang on…
Okay, they’re scissors, but I swear I just saw a cutter with print on it. It was cool.)