Thursday, November 7, 2013

Encouragement from The Voice

Hi All! Audra here.

Hasn’t this been a beautiful autumn? It has been here along the Front Range of Colorado. Well, except for the flood that hit Boulder County (where I live) back in September. Thankfully, our property was spared, but I know so many who have lost much, if not everything, in what folks are calling the 1000 year flood. Please keep these folks in your prayers.

What does this have to do with my topic? Well, if it wasn’t for the flood, my vacation would not have been postponed – a couple of times. I finally got to take a week off in the middle of October, and enjoyed the most beautiful weather I could have ever asked for. Which then allowed me to spend a few days down in southern Colorado where there’s no Internet, no cable, no coffee shops. 

It was glorious. Try it sometime. Go no technology and you may never want to go back, LOL! 

At the house, we did have network stations on the television. Now, for those of you who have fully scheduled days and fill in the down moments with writing, you know watching television is really low on the priority list. We flicked on the TV and started watching The Voice for lack of anything else to do.

I don’t watch American Idol or The X Factor, or other talent shows framed within the concept of a panel of judges determining the fate of hopeful talent as they lay their souls on the line for the approval of a few. If I had been a contestant, Simon Cowell’s rude harshness would have scarred me for life.

This was the first time I’d watched The Voice and by the end of the program, I realized the show, in perception, reflected the hopes and dreams of authors everywhere. It is a desperately needed role model for the encouragement of authors, published and unpublished.

The Voice is different. This is a popular show so I’m positive many of you have followed it over the past few of seasons. If you have, GOOD FOR YOU! I hope to see your comments throughout the day : ) Let’s highlight a couple of my observations that reflect closely what we go through in the publishing industry in order to produce a saleable book:

Practice and compete in contests

The Voice: The contestants who make it through the auditions have honed their talents and competed in various venues until their style and presence shines. They move to an audition where they sing and the coaches listen to the performance with their backs turned to the singer. There are so many contestants, you know only those voices with something special can tempt the coaches to turn their chairs around to indicate their interest.

Publishing:  We’ve entered contests and received feedback from judges we either agree or disagree with. I entered countless contests before getting published and learned over the years to recognize whether the feedback I received was viable or not. Did the judge see my vision for the story? Recognize my voice? Did they give me a critique I could work with or just tell me (in thinly veiled comments of harshness dressed as encouragement) maybe I should find another dream to pursue? During this phase, the writer must learn to distinguish what kind of feedback is helpful to them, what will encourage their talent to shine and thus help them begin to final and win contests, and attract the attention of those editors and agents they’d like to work with.

Critique and encourage

The Voice: Once contestants have been chosen, they compete in pairs in elimination rounds. The coach pairs up styles and voices they think will complement the contestants’ talents. Both singers work as a duet showcasing their strengths. At the end of the performance, the other coaches give their input while the contestants stand on stage – all of it framed as positive feedback – and the original coach of the duo must choose which singer won the duet competition based on their performance to remain on his/her team. But wait, it gets better. If the singer who is not chosen by the coach sparks the interest of another coach, that coach then has the opportunity to steal that contestant for their team.

Publishing:  The author has finalled or won contests, and the final round editor indicates they would like to see a partial. First three chapters and a synopsis. We’ve been preparing for this moment and know we’re ready. We spit shine our work until it glows. We print off our pages, check…double check…triple check it’s the best we can do, and slip it in the priority mail envelope and send it off to the agent or editor who has sparked our hopes with the simple words, “Send me a partial.” And then we return to our computers and continue working on projects because to sit on our hands while we wait is just plain silly. We’ve got to keep writing, keep learning, keep submitting.

Mentoring and coaching

The Voice: Now the singer has been chosen by their coach or stolen by another coach on the panel. In the next elimination round, the contestants are once again paired by their coach to compete against each other, only this time the contestant chooses the song they feel showcases their style and talent. They sing for their coach. Their coach gives them feedback – they discuss why the song works, how it can work better, how the contestant needs to tweak it. Or change it. They leave the ultimate decision to the contestant, but the same process of elimination applies to this round as it did the last – the other coaches get to leave comments, but the final decision whether you stay in the game or not, belongs to your coach. Do you get chosen or not? Guess it depends on the final product you’ve presented and whether you’ve taken into consideration the suggestions made to improve your work. If your coach likes your final product, he/she selects you. If not, you may get stolen by another coach to join their team, or you walk away the wiser for the experience and hopefully, no regrets. 

Publishing:  Having sent in our partial, we’ve sparked the interest of an editor who contacts us and requests a full manuscript. Oh Happy Day!! So, this part can work a number of ways:  
The editor/agent (E/A) sends a form letter informing you the submission isn’t right for them, good luck in the future. 
OR, the E/A calls and tells you they’d like to buy your manuscript and welcome you to the family. 
OR, you receive a letter or email telling you the story isn’t quite right. If you’d like to make the following revisions, the E/A would like to review the ms again. 
After you are finished rereading that note a hundred times, you wonder what it means to you. Just so there’s no misunderstanding, the choice is up to you. Do you make the changes suggested or think your book is great the way it is and you’ll make changes when someone is willing to pay for them?

Let me tell you, much like The Voice where the coaches are only trying to make your talent better with their suggestions and comments, if the E/A takes the time to send you a rejection with revision suggestions, THEY ARE NOT JUST BEING NICE. E/As have a lot on their plates. If they take the time to specifically tell you what they’d like changed in your manuscript, please realize they see potential in you! 

These are only a few gems I’ve picked up and ruminated over since discovering this wonderful show. Have I mentioned the coaches on The Voice are all nice and respectful, keeping the dignity of the competition on higher ground? Public humiliation is not something I crave, nor do I believe it makes the hopeful contestants into better people. Much like Adam, Christina, Cee Lo and Blake (oh be still my heart, Blake Shelton!!) demonstrate, encouragement brings out the potential in everyone.

Yes, I’ve now carved out time to watch The Voice. I’m interested in seeing how the season ends. I’m not certain what determines the outcome, so maybe you can enlighten me : )

Writing With Emotion, Tension and Conflict

Also, remember November is NANOWRIMO month! The prize for the day is a copy of Cheryl St. John's new how-to book, Writing With Emotion, Tension and Conflict. If you've ever taken one of Cheryl's classes, you'll know Cheryl is the epitomy of encouragment...even as she teaches conflict, LOL! Winner will be announced this weekend in the WE.


  1. Audra,

    I'm so glad y'all were okay. We adore Estes Park and were there this summer. The town as you know was devastated but they are MOUNTAIN STRONG!

    You know, I've only watched a few minutes of The Voice, so a) I'm glad for your explanation and b) wow! Love what you pulled out here.

    Thanks for sharing your insights. As I write, I'm first so I'll turn on the coffee Helen so graciously set up. And I brought along some ooey-gooey crunchy on top brownies, with or without nuts, depending on how you're doing with NaNo! ;)

  2. I've only watched one episode of The Voice. The niece of a church member was on last season but didn't make it to the live shows. But it did seem like a neat concept. I like the idea of no preconceived notions based on appearance.

    So far, I am a NaNo failure. My characters are not cooperating and my plot has gelled about as well as warm Jello. ARGH!!!! Work has been a bear too which sucks the life out of me and doesn't help writing.

    I think maybe I just need to read and refill the well. Yeah, that sounds like a plan.

  3. I <3 The Voice!

    I've often said it's nice to feel like I've made it to the Blind Auditions. If you make it there, whether you get a button push or not, you have talent.


    You may not be QUITE good enough or may not be what the judges are looking for [they've kicked themselves in the past], but it's not because you're NO good.

    In fact, this year, at least one who didn't get a button push last time went home, worked hard, and came back to get all four. There's one other returning contestant as well, though I forget how many chairs turned for him.

    For so long, I felt like I was on American Idol - like the one person where you listen and cringe and think 'oh, honey, doesn't your mother/father/boyfriend/girlfriend/neighborhood-alley-cats love you enough to tell you this is NOT your calling?' I wondered if that was me. I still do sometimes, but more and more I feel like I'm on The Voice instead :).

    Shakira and Usher were good last season, too, while CeeLo [miss his cat!] and Christina took the season off.

    I also love Carson Daly in the Blind Auditions. With the exception of Kaley Cuoco's reaction to her sister's audition, Carson always seems just as happy or sad as the family [Kaley - she took it to a WHOLE NEW LEVEL]. And he's GENUINE about it. He's jumping up and down or crestfallen with them. You don't get that near as much from Ryan Seacrest.

    Plus the bromance between Adam and Blake is worth it all right there.

  4. Hi, Audra!

    I've only seen The Voice a couple times at someone else's house(we don't get the channel), but I love watching the different singers. ...Blake Shelton and Adam Levine are a pretty big incentive too, lol.

    Great analogy with writing and singing! I write and sing and the similarities never end!

    Writing helps you write better.
    Singing helps you sing better.

    Learning about your voice, and the particular inflections that are uniquely your own helps in either scenario.

    You've given me a lot to think on! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Thanks for sharing, Audra... I love the Voice! I'm a singer (Defintitely not in that caliber, though), so I love hearing the coaches' tips and feedback. And I appreciate the fact that the coaches are constructive and not cruel. I hate that about some of the other shows. For the same reason that I don't leave bad reviews for a book I didn't care for, I don't like making fun of someone else's singing abilities. It's different when you know how hard it is to put yourself (book or voice) out there.

    Thanks for the giveaway. I'll get off my soapbox now. :)

  6. The Voice?
    Now I've got to watch another show?

    I can't even remember Castle is on Monday nights!!!!!

    Audra! The PRESSURE!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. I am a huge Voice fan and I have seen every episode! We don't have cable but Hulu has the episode available the following day and my sister and I always watch it together!
    I have to agree with what Carol said about loving Carson in the blinds! He just gets so into it and it's great! And Adam and Blake's bromance is awesome.
    For me one of the best parts of the show is just watching the coaches's interactions! It's so hysterical how they really are like a family and their tweets to each other are amusing too! Blake is my favorite coach but I haven't been too pleased with his choices this year and Christina's team is my favorite this time!
    All in all I love the show and I was crazy happy when my fav won last year!
    I loved the connection you made between the show and the road to publication very cool!
    And I liked how Anna compared the coaches being constructive and not cruel to not writing bad reviews for books you didn't like! As I reviewer I sometimes have to write reviews for books I didn't enjoy but I am always careful to find as much good as I can and sandwich the bad in between compliments. I also usually say something about the book just not being for me. I have read some scathing reviews and I just can't believe how someone would be that cruel to an another human being!
    Thanks for the great post! As for what determines the outcome of the show-after the knockouts the live shows start and from then on it's up to America's votes (except for the first live show where America picks two and the coach picks one). You can vote by calling, texting, the website, and buying the song on iTunes. The singers with the least votes go home and the winners advance.

  8. Good morning Audra! What a wonderful analogy of writing and The Voice. I am a AVID FAN of The Voice and have been since the end of their first season (missed most of it). I love music and had been a fan of American Idol since season one, BUT through the years it has become almost cannibalistic with the judges practically eating the contestants alive. The Voice is refreshing as the contestants are strictly selected by their voice in the BLIND auditions. Their selection is simply based on talent and nothing else. I love that. You've explained it pretty well but as the judges choose for awhile it finally gets to the stage it is at this week where America votes, two on each team are saved by the votes of America and then the coaches all save one on their team so that by next week there will be 12 contestants left out of the 20 that started this week. Then each week they are voted to stay or go by America's vote.

    I could go on and on about the show but then I visualize Blake and start to get the vapors. He is so HUNKY!

    Would love to be entered for a chance to win Cheryl St. John's book. Thank you.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

  9. I forgot to add that the one thing that makes The Voice shine over all the other 'similar' shows is that it is all about the contestant and how to promote them to do better. None of the coaches browbeat them, they give them constructive comments (not really criticism) and build them up which I'm sure makes the contestant want to be even better so they take what their coaches tell them and implement it.

    Okay here come the vapors again. Oh and Adam Levine is quite adorable too. Last season, in my opinion was the best as Usher was a coach too and his smile could light the world.

    Enough said.

    Cindy W.

  10. We canceled our cable to stop the temptation of sitting around in front of it, so I can't watch The Voice. Boo! But I loved your analogy and I'm inspired to do more contesting. I have entered a contest in a while.

    Please enter me in the drawing for Cheryl St. John's book!

    Happy Thursday, Seekerville! It's a rainy one here, which is my favorite writing weather.

  11. Good morning, Audra! I've never watched "The Voice" (TV died 3 1/2 years ago and I haven't gotten around to replacing it yet!). But the program sounds (pun intended) like a great concept -- and you made some excellent comparisons to writers on the journey to getting published.

  12. KC -- Thanks for getting the coffee started! :) I love Estes Park, too. I went to Colorado for the first time in college and fell in love with it. Hate to think of all the flood damage. And when I was at the Rocky Mountain National Park after ACFW in 2009, it was sad to see so many of the beautiful pines killed due to drought and the subsequent infestation of bark beetles. From one extreme to the other.

  13. Thanks for sharing some wonderful insights this morning, Audra. I haven't watched the voice but it was fun to see what you gleaned from the show.

    Writers never stop writing, even when they are forced to watch TV. :-)))

  14. Look at all the early birds this morning! And me just working on my first cup of coffee this morning.

    Thanks for plugging in the coffee and bringing the delicious brownies, KC! Never too much caffeine or chocolate when in the midst of NaNo!

    Thanks for asking about the flooding. The main street of Estes flooded and damaged so many cute shops. But like you said, they are mountain strong and most of them are open and ready for the holiday business. The poor town of Lyons, just below Estes, was hit HARD. So were some of the outlying subdivisions. Folks couldn't get in or out.

    Can't enough about the National Guard though. They came in and we have highways reconstructed already that they thought wouldn't open until spring!! Bless them. The National Guard is GREAT!!

    KC brought the essential chocolate fix while I'm bringing a buffet of scrambled eggs, French toast and fruit salad to kick off our morning. Help yourselves : )

  15. No, no, no, Marilyn! There are no failures!! If there's one thing The Voice drives home, it's being constructive and moving toward your goal!!

    NaNoWriMo is an intimidating venture. I've only made my goal twice in how many years?? But the point is to get the words out of your mind and onto the paper. You go back in weeks to come and discover gems in your writing that would make all four judges hit their buttons and turn around for you!!

    Go Marilyn!!!!

  16. You summed it all up, Carol. There is excitement zinging all through the show. They want the participants to succeed. Even if they are not on a specific coaches' team.

    I love that!

    It's all about encouragement and making each other stronger. Even rivals cross the lines to help each other.

    I miss the cat only because I haven't a clue what the cat does on the show, LOL!

    We all have talent and we all have a calling. Carol, you're right about feeling an inch tall when nasty comments poke at you. There's is no need for that.

    Can we all say CONSTRUCTIVE criticism??

  17. Oh wait, I completely bypassed the Blake and Adam incentive.

    Oh be still my heart!! I love their banter!!!

  18. Great blog! I haven't seen The Voice, but it sounds wonderful. I'm a much bigger fan of the 'building up' style of mentoring than the 'tearing down.'

    And Cheryl St.John is awesome! She could give classes in mentoring...Maybe we can get her to write a 'how to' book on mentoring!

  19. Sing on, Natalie! I'm in awe of multi-talented people. The same discipline that sees you through singing will help you in your writing.

    When I watched the part of the show where the coaches took their team individually to practice with industry professionals, I loved how they listened to the contestant sing and then worked with their strengths and weaknesses. They made recommendations and when the contestant tried it, it worked for them!!

    When you receive feedback from contest judges, don't just dismiss the comments that you don't think pertain to you. If the comments were served tactfully, take a look at them and try it. Sometimes one little tweak in your writing voice can make all the difference in the world!

  20. Hi Anna, I appreciate your comments on leaving bad reviews. I hope folks look at the book they've read and really scrutinized whether the story just didn't gel with them, or was the writing truly lacking.

    There is no reason for cruelty for cruelty's sake. Keep this in mind whether reviewing a book or critiquing an entry, if you have something less than positive to say about the writing, pls add why it affected YOU this way. Negative feedback is always more digestible when you're shown WHY it doesn't work.

    Thanks, Anna!

  21. Relax, Mary. No need to stress. I can't imagine a Simon Cowell comment EVER coming out of you!!!

  22. What a great parallel, Audra! I've caught a a bit of each Voice episode this year and I agree, I really like the way it's set up to encourage as opposed to tear down. And I love the commraderie of the judges. It's a class above the other talent shows on the market. Now everytime I see that fist raised in the air I'll change the microphone to a pen. :-)

  23. Thanks for the update on what to expect next on The Voice, Abbi. I like the idea of downloading the songs. Some of the artists are real powerhouse singers!!

    You and Anna give me warm fuzzies all over. You understand the review process is to help others decide if they'd like to buy the book.

    I cringe when I see reviews that just slash apart books -- especially the books I love!

    Does it really give the reviewer or oritiquer a rush knowing they're simply capable of making rude and uncalled for comments for the world to see?

    I don't get it. Just goes to show there are bullies everywhere.

  24. Cindy, I'm so with you on the Adam and Blake factor! My husband gets a kick out of Christina's wacky looks at times : )

    I love how all the judges listen intently to the singers (you can tell Adam is reeaaaally into the performance - his attention is riveted...I'd like that kind of attention from him...)and then they have constructive comments for the OTHER teams' members.

    I love it!! Let's all work together folks to make this the best it can be!!

  25. Audra, I loved this review of The Voice. Like some here, I've never seen it. We got out of the television habit years ago, but hearing what you've shared about how the judges encourage the artists makes me want to watch. I'm a singer, not even close to good enough to compete. Singing on our church's worship team on occasion is as close as I'll ever get to a venue like that. :)

    That aside, I love hearing the similarities between The Voice and the writing journey. You shared such good take-aways here! Thank you!

    I'd like to be entered in the drawing. :)

  26. Mornin' Glynna! We have 3 televisions in the house and I rarely make time to watch any of them.

    It's bad enough I have Internet as a distraction, LOL!

    If we hadn't gone to Fowler where the only thing to do in the evenings was to watch the limited station selection, I never would've come across this gem of program.

    God works in mysterious ways...

  27. So true about writers never stop writing, Mary. Sometimes it takes the joy out of simply reading for fun.

    Reading for fun. What's that? I devour others' talents and strive to get better all the time!!!

  28. Adam + Blake = exponential equationary amazing goodness, LOL!

    I've been doing a lot of 7th grade math with my peeps so everything is done in factors, fractions, equations and expressions.

    My expression about "The Voice"? It's the only reality talent show I ever see, and for all the reasons Audra mentioned. Now I miss it most of the time, but I catch a few each season and love 'em.

    Humor, coaching, a clear interest in the best interests of the contestants. And ya' know what I love?

    It reminds me of Seekerville because the judges aren't setting up stumbling blocks, afraid to share publishing/recording spots.

    They're truly interested in helping.

    Too me that's HUGE. Hey, I brought us some COFFEE!!!! I'm dropping off the Keurig and flavored creamers to celebrate finishing my 8/14 book "His Montana Sweetheart", part of the Big Sky Centennial series.... And yes, that was a shameless plug!!! :)

    I loved, loved, loved writing cowboys!

    Let me just add I know a lot more about a "seat in the saddle" than I used to.


  29. Sherri, I LOVE Cheryl's classes. Talk about a teacher/coach who only builds up the good in people!!

    If you haven't taken one of Cheryl St. John's classes, you are missing out on a heap of encouragement!!

    I wish I could give away a dozen copies of her book. She teaches through the book exactly like she teaches classes.

    I'd be among the first to sign up for the mentoring class, Sherri!!

  30. Oh yes, Cindy W, I agree, Usher has a wonderful, contagious smile. :)

    Glynna Kaye, no TV for 3½ years? I’m impressed.

    Kav, love your idea about seeing a pen instead of a microphone. How vivid and memorable.

    Audra, I became a fan of “The Voice” after seeing one episode. I don’t watch other singing shows because I’m appalled at how callous the judges are toward contestants. To place people on prime time TV and then ridicule their lack of singing ability is tasteless, crude, and cruel. It’s definitely not the message influential pop culture should be sending to America. (I sometimes get on my soapbox, too, Anna W.)

    Thanks for today’s posting. Appreciate how you connected the journey of “The Voice” contestants with those of us who hope to one day be published. It’s encouraging and a reminder that people who become successful follow much the same path.

    Please enter me in the drawing. Sounds like a book any writer at any level would find useful.

  31. Kav! That's an awesome correlation!! Change that microphone for a pen.

    You're genius!!!!!!

  32. Jeanne, I'm sure you're being modest about your talent. Coming from someone whose family only let's her sing between 10am and 10:05, you can kind of see where my talents don't lay.


  33. Ruthy, yes! The Voice and Seekerville! We are on the same plane, or plateau, or peak, depends on what level of enthusiasm you muster, LOL!!

    Adam + Blake. No matter how you look at them, they are a winning combo. Definitely the chocolate topping to the show's sundae treat, LOL!

    YAYAYAYAY for finishing the book! 8/14 is such a long way away. I'll be tapping my foot in anticipation for some good cowboy reading!!!

  34. Audra -

    During the interviews between performances, he would hold this cat and pet it. Looking like something out of the Godfather or something ;).

  35. Cara, stick with the Seekers for encouragement. We will help you through the rough spots!

  36. Argh! The clickable link isn't showing up.

    So you'll have to copy paste this - or search CeeLo and cat...

  37. I hate to say it, kids, but I have to get ready for work. I'll steal some moments through the day and check in.

    I can't wait to see your comments when I come back!!

  38. Wow. Great post and I WANT THAT BOOK~!!!

  39. I watch most of my TV on my computer. Who needs an actual set??

  40. AUDRA, thank you for an inspiring post. Not a fan of talent shows, but if I did watch it would probably be that one after your comparison. I haven't had too many bad critiques because the people I critique with Know How To Do It, but I know there are people who can be vicious. Most of my contest results have been positive, but that's because I didn't start entering contests until I had some skills. I think we need to develop, not necessarily thick skins, but porous ones that let in what needs to be let in.
    I LOVE Colorado! Lived out there for five years, Colorado Springs and Fountain.
    KC, I'm not following with the brownies. (actually, I'm following a little too closely)
    Are the ones with nuts for people "nutty" enough to do NANO?
    MARILYN, don't give up. NANO is a guideline, not a rule. If your piece slops over a little into December, so be it. The important thing is that you're writing and you've set a goal.
    AUDRA, please enter me in the drawing. I would love to win and learn from Cheryl's book.
    Kathy Bailey

  41. I've watched this show a few times and liked it (even though I don't listen to that kind of music) because of the reasons you stated. And Blake Shelton is hilarious.
    I'm learning more and more that if you can't say something nice, you ought to just shut up. Lol! Throw in some encouragement, and you're good to go.

    Please enter me for the book.

  42. Is topped in earlier, before Helen had the coffee set up, but didn't leave a calling card. I'm a reader, not a writer, but love how you can apply so many things to life in general, not just the obvious. Thanks, Audra

  43. Is topped in earlier, before Helen had the coffee set up, but didn't leave a calling card. I'm a reader, not a writer, but love how you can apply so many things to life in general, not just the obvious. Thanks, Audra

  44. I've never watched The Voice. Oh, I've seen the commericals, but always turn it when it comes. Maybe I'll watch an episode now.

    Great analogy between writers and entertainers. Makes sense.

  45. Sneaking back for a second...

    Carol, I will paste that link into my browser when I get home.

    BTW, I had never heard of CeeLo before. I like him.

  46. Tina, when you mentioned years before about watching TV through your computer feed. We just got a Smart TV. I hope my son can set up that feature over his Christmas break!!

    Yayayay! No commericals!!

  47. Kaybee, I try to watch as little television as possible. I have no time. I'm not making time to watch The Voice, but am definitely tickled when I catch it : )

    I lived in Colorado Springs for about 4 years and loved it. Of course, that was back in the 80s. It's changed so much since then. Still gorgeous place. My heart goes out to them for all the fires and flooding they sustained, too!!

  48. Amen to that, Courtney! You are a wise woman : )

  49. Marianne, you don't have to be a writer to enjoy Seekerville. I'm so glad you've discovered that!

    I think when we expand our boundries of interest ie writers studying entertainers, screenwriters, etc, we glean so much.

    We've got to learn from each other, you know, that whole thing about no man (or woman) is an island.

    That's why Seekerville is helping everyone sail OFF the island : )

  50. Okay, gotta get back to work. Will check in again, soo : )

  51. I watch The Voice with my daughters sometimes. I have often thought how similar it is to what we writers go through. Sometimes my heart breaks for them when they don't get picked or get voted off the show because I feel like I know exactly what they're feeling! This is what they want, this is the career they so desperately want, and they're looking for that validation, for someone to say, "Yes, you have talent. You can make it in this business." And you also understand the joy they feel when their coach tells them what a great job they did. And I think The Voice is superior to the other similar shows in that the judges are all very positive and encouraging, for the most part, and give constructive feedback. Nobody is really cynical or snide or mean at all. So you get as attached to the coaches as you do the contestants, since the coaches are actually competing against each other. It's a great show, a great concept, really.

  52. I forgot to say, HEY AUDRA!!! Love ya, girl. Glad you got a week off to enjoy the beautiful fall colors and weather! It is gorgeous here, although a strong wind last night laid waste to a lot of our lovely leaves. :-( But there are still plenty more, thank goodness. And so glad your house was spared in the flooding! Flooding is scary.

  53. Yeah, I've only made the 50K goal twice since 2008. Last year I didn't even attempt it at all. I've TRIED to tell myself I don't have to hit 50K; I just have to put words on paper. And they still don't want to take the journey from my mind to the keyboard. Maybe they just aren't big enough to travel yet. Ha! It's sad though when I come home from work & would rather iron than write. But on the bright side, my clothes are ironed & I don't have that excuse anymore. ;-)

  54. Hi Audra,

    What a great analogy! I love the Voice too for that reason that the performer isn't judged by his or her looks. Only their voice, their talent!

    And the coaches are great.

    I've been watching X-Factor too and Simon's a bit nicer on this show!

    I've heard good things about Cheryl's book. Thanks for giving one away!

    sbmason at sympatico dot ca

  55. Love how you tie these things together. Lessons come from so many places. Thanks for the encouragement.

    I was fortunate to receive an advance copy of Cheryl's book so no need to put me in the drawing. Well, worth having.

    Peace, Julie

  56. Audra, fascinating to look at The Voice and see the many parallels that writers and singers face in the challenging pursuit of success! I've never seen the show, but your praise makes me want to take a look.

    Yay, someone will win Cher's How To book!!

    I brought cider, powdered sugar and chocolate donuts. No chocolate on the fingers and powdered sugar on the keyboard with the cyber variety. :-)


  57. Good morning, Audra! I love The Voice. I think Blake Shelton is swoony. :)

    I love the comparison between The Voice and Publishing. If only we can get some chairs to turn!!!!

  58. Anyone entering contests for some judge feedback, hopefully encouraging? I'm mailing my Rita contest books today. And planning to look at other published contests that are open.


  59. AUDS!!! Always LOVE Audra days, my friend, because we've both been so crazy busy, I've missed you!!

    GREAT comparison between The Voice and Publishing, which not only is SO incredibly true, but sparks me to want to watch The Voice as well!! ;)

    LOVED your advice as follows: "If the E/A takes the time to send you a rejection with revision suggestions, THEY ARE NOT JUST BEING NICE. E/As have a lot on their plates. If they take the time to specifically tell you what they’d like changed in your manuscript, please realize they see potential in you!"

    Oh, WOW, I cannot express HOW important this is to understand because as a gal who garnered 46 rejections before I sold my first book, let me state that never ONCE did I get a nice rejection letter from an editor. Most simply sent me a form letter stating "no interest in this project," and one didn't even have the courtesy to send me a rejection on their own letterhead, but scrawled the rejection -- no interest in this project -- across the bottom of MY query letter.

    If even ONE editor had sent a word of encouragement, I would have framed it, but alas, this gal got nada. Until one wonderful agent asked me to Express Mail my ms. to her ... and even then, I thought it was a hoax.

    Encouragement is SO essential to our walks, both with Christ and in our writing, so DO IT for others and thank God when others do it for you!!


  60. MELANIE! I always knew we were two peas in a know, the whole great minds thing, LOL!!

    We had a pretty good wind the other day that knocked all the leaves off of our trees...and onto our deck. THAT'S what I'll be doing this weekend, raking leaves!!

  61. Hi Audra, I'm back. Just caught a quick glimpse this morning but couldn't stay. Like you I caught glimpses of the voice and was intrigued. What a great analogy to writing and contests.

    Let me know how it turns out.

  62. Susan, if you say Simon is nicer on the X Factor, I'll take your word for it.

    He's used up all three of his strikes with me : )

    (I'm not harboring a grudge, I'm just being choosey with my time.)

  63. Hey Audra, excellent post!

    I basically ignored The Voice the first season choosing to work on blogging and social media in the same room as my musical family while they watched it. Because they watch all singing shows and I can't sing.

    But sometime during the 2nd season, I began listening to the banter between the coaches and realized that The Voice was indeed different because it's all POSITIVE. Every bit of information they impart is only said to strengthen the contestants no matter whether they continue in the industry or not.

    I also admire the judges for speaking the truth without being condescending or snotty. So refreshing.

  64. in our house, children's programming rules (blue's clues, dora the explorer... new ones like Paw Patrol, Octonauts, and Bubble Guppys), so "regular" programming doesn't get much air time. we DO have a DVR, so I DVR the Voice episodes. I LOVE IT!

    the whole concept of choosing team members strictly on what is heard and not seen piqued my interest. the coaches actally have to beg/plead/fight over some contestants - which has to be a HUGE confidence builder. and the eye candy of Blake Shelton and Adam Levine is definitely a bonus. i really like how Adam appears to be so into each performance and concentrates on the singer.

    i love how you tied the show to writing and the getting pubbed process. i don't think i'll be able to watch the show without thinking about your post. that's a cool thing.

    is it bad I'm not too impressed with Christina? i've always felt she's more about people paying attention to her. i could be wrong, but i've been watching from season one on. i thought Usher was awesome. he DOES have a mega-watt smile.

    awesome post Audra. thanks for the Colorado updates too. this Denver native appreciates it. my family wasn't adversely affected by the floods other than extreme travel time for my niece and nephews to get to school. (took average of two hours in the immediate aftermath) they live in Frederick and Gill (near Kersey, which is east of Greeley)

  65. I watch The Voice with my friend in the nursing home. I don't have much of a singing voice and definitely don't have a trained ear to recognize the absolute best singers, but there is so much talent on that show.

    Especially this season.

    Great comparison to the world of writing.

    The last few weeks of The Voice hinge a bit more on voting by the public, and how many downloads (?) the singers get, too, if I remember correctly.

    Blake's singers have won several times in a row. Last season was Danielle Bradberry. Season before was Cassadee Pope.

    And, no, I didn't have to look either of those names up! ha

  66. AUDRA, you made me LOL with your comment about when you're allowed to sing. :)

    CAROL—what a great pic of CeeLo and the cat!

    MARILYN—I hope you'll not give up on NANO. When I tried to do Speedbo here on Seekerville back in March, I gave up after a couple thousand words because I just didn't know my characters or story as well as I needed to. I regrouped and wrote my story later. Maybe you can figure out why you're getting stuck and have your own Nano when you're ready. :)

  67. I didn't take time to read all the comments, just today's blog. I wanted to say thank you for writing it because it's nice to know that other people don't watch television on a regular basis. While I am well versed in Sesame Street and Curious George, I don't watch much television anymore. I also wanted to say thanks for the encouragement. I'm on prepubbed island, and it's nice to hear from authors who worked diligently on their craft. You shared your story about entering contests and honing your voice, and that's encouraging to someone who's in the midst of that.
    Glad to hear that you are OK in Colorado.
    Also I'm in the middle of NaNoWriMo. I'm slightly behind (the chart says I'm due to finish 12/1!). Thanks for the encouragement and now back to writing!

  68. I forgot to mention, I'd like my name thrown in the hat for the book. I believe I could really benefit from it.

  69. Audra, thanks for explaining the ins and outs of The Voice! I've flipped it on for a moment or two but could never understand the show dynamic.

    I do, however, love American Idol! I'm amazed at the talent discovered on the show and how the singers mature as the season progresses.

    Of course, I always love when hard work pays off!

    Congrats to all the Villagers who have seen their dreams come true over the last few years! I'm cheering you on and encourage everyone else who's still on the road to publication!!!

    As we know so well, with hard work and perseverance, dreams do come true!

  70. Never watched The Voice since we don't own a set and do all our viewing of films via the puter, but did enjoy the comparisons made between it and publishing. Happy that you were finally able to take that long await vacation. Yes, it's wonderful to go away and lose some contact with the outside world for a time. Would love to be included in the drawing for Cheryl's book.

  71. Audra,

    This is a great post. I don't watch the show (I've found I've been more productive since I backed off of t.v. somewhat), but the descriptions make a lot of sense. And I love the analogies with the publishing industry. Thank you.

    And stop dangling that ARC in front of our faces Julie Hilton Steele!!! We are trying to wait patiently until the 28th!


  72. I don't watch much TV and I've never watched The Voice -- but now you have me curious, Audra. What interesting parallels and comparisons. As to being cut off from the outside world, yes it's wonderful when it's our choosing (and not a power failure). When I have been out of touch with the world, I've noticed it goes right along without me :-)

    Nancy C

  73. Audra, I haven't seen this show yet. Will be sure to try watching it! I'm a big American Idol fan, but I agree it's painful to watch the criticism (although that has toned down since Simon left).

  74. Audra, I've never watched the voice, but I love that they're positive on the show. Like you I never liked American Idol because of the harshness and so I never watch any of the other shows. Good to know this type of show exists!

  75. Great post. I'm so glad I stopped by. I usually drop in every morning but NaNo has my completely out of synch.

    Thanks for sharing!

    BTW are there any brownies left? :)

  76. I enjoyed your post, Audra, and now am eager to watch THE VOICE (I've only seen commercials, LOL).
    Not doing NaNo but have set a self-imposed deadline for myself. Which I hope to meet before Thanksgiving arrives, LOL.
    Hugs, Patti Jo :)

  77. Audra,

    One of the oddest things I've never been able to convince my wife of is that when I get a request from an E/A, they are not doing it to be nice. She is convinced that E/As sometimes request things to be nice.

  78. And I like the concept of The Voice, but I don't watch it that often.

  79. I love to watch the voice. I am a week behind though. Hope to remedy that tonight. The voice is the only talent show I watch because of all the reasons already mentioned here. My husband and I are night and day. We always choose the winners each week to see who will agree with the coaches. It's fun because we NEVER agree. And yes, I do win most times lol.

    I really like the comparisons you made, Audra. I will probably think about them each time I watch the show now. Hopefully, that will help me remember them!!!

  80. Audra, raking leaves is something I never do! I like the way the leaves look on the ground! Plus, if I just wait a little while, the wind will whisk them all away! It's wonderful, actually. ;-) So don't spend too much time raking leaves!

  81. Thanks everyone for stopping by yesterday! I'm sorry I had to duck out the later part of the day, too much scheduled at day job to break free and use a computer.

    I've never been a big one for conflict, either personally or in my books. But there is NO STORY without it.

    The trick is to convey feedback with tack and grace. To me, that is the mark of a truly great person.

    Keep writing and remember to watch The Voice!!