Lessons I’ve Learned From Lindsey Stirling (#iwsg, #amwriting, #lindseystirling)

Hey, guys! I’m a little busy finishing up a draft and getting a manuscript to one of my editors, so I thought I’d give you something a little different this month for the Insecure Writers Support Group.

1. Just because the people that love you think they know what’s best for you, doesn’t make them right. Many moons ago, in the Long Before Times of the Deep Dark, I was told a lot of things by family who were genuinely looking out for me that I couldn’t do certain things. Or, at least, that I shouldn’t. It wasn’t practical. I needed a get a “real job”. You can’t make a living as a Creative. Can’t, can’t, can’t. This was borne out by my mother, a writer, who has yet to make a concerted go of it despite all her hard work, and who hasn’t yet jumped on the indie publishing bandwagon. The Magical Dawn of the Internet was still a few years away, so this outlet wasn’t yet available to me.

But the fact of the matter is, despite their genuine concern, they couldn’t tell the future. I won’t say I wasted all those years, because everything happens for a reason, and I spent that time honing my craft. But it did undermine my confidence, and that’s one thing no one, no matter how much they love us, has the right to do. I’m amazed at some of the confidence and empowerment some of these high school kids have today.

This didn’t happen to Lindsey, but I suspect it’s happened to quite a lot of us at one point or another. Which segues to:

2. Persistence is key. Lindsey Stirling’s family couldn’t afford violin lessons for her, and her mom spent something like two years looking for someone willing to give her fifteen-minute lessons. Everyone said it couldn’t be done. Until one teacher was willing to try.

3. Critics Don’t Know Everything. Lindsey wowed everyone on America’s Got Talent, but then the judges ordered her to do more, play faster, dance more, bigger, bad-assier. Instead of remaining true to herself she listened, and ended up eviserated on National TV. (I’ve seen her live–and I can tell you the judges were blind as well as deaf.) They told her she wasn’t good enough to be a solo artist, and to stay in the background.

But she learned her lesson. She did her own thing, her way, and became a You Tube sensation. She’s sold millions of albums. (Around the release of her second album she received an invitation from America’s Got Talent to appear on their show, citing that she was exactly the sort of artist they were looking to spotlight, as though they hadn’t already put her through the wringer–some intern didn’t do their homework!)

4. Don’t work so hard that you forget what’s truly important. There was a point when Lindsey was working so hard she sort of let family and friends by the way side. As a result she wasn’t recharging as much as she should have been, and it affected her health. As someone with a stress-related condition, this is something I can attest to. Sometimes you just need to rest. So rest. You’re not letting anyone down by checking in with yourself and taking stock.

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