Last night I had the opportunity to see the Foo Fighters in concert. My ears are still ringing, but 3 hours into the concert, with Dave Grohl and the rest playing continuously, I started to think about longevity.
The Foo Fighters have been actively playing, touring, and making new albums for over 20 years. I don’t think anyone thought the band would have creative output for that long, and no one can predict tastes and preferences for the consuming public. But I think there is a lesson here for plugging along that is relevant to any creative career, especially writing.
So often, I think we as writers lose sight of why we wanted to start writing in the first place. We had an idea for a story that ignited our imagination. We hear “don’t write to the market”, but publishers want to see consistent themes and genres. We hear “write what you know”, but consistently get turned down from agents and publishers. Our stories matter, and we need to remember to keep writing what we want to write, to keep delving into the ideas that keep our creative juices flowing, and keep working on craft.
All the members of the Foo Fighters are talented individuals, but the reason they are the only band from the rock-resurgence 90s to survive today is their persistence. They kept making records, even when the public tastes turned to bubble-gum pop.. They kept touring, when few bands tour anymore. They kept playing, writing new songs, even when many of their colleagues had retired, or quit. Persistence and output matter.
All this is to say- just keep moving forward. Keep putting the stories you want to write out there. Work on craft, and stay professional. Do these things, and you will build an audience. Do them well, and you will build a bigger audience impassioned about your work. Do them for 20 years, and you have a career.
Until next time-
What I am listening to now…. Nothing but the ringing in my ears