The Pursuit of Excellence

with 2 Comments

Yesterday I was thinking about how I had started out writing as a young girl, and then fell in love with performing. I spent about 20 years pursuing that expression -singing and acting and writing music all through middle school, high school, college and into my 20s and early 30s. I always wrote however.

Yesterday I saw some great tweets of people getting agents and getting book deals and I thought “this is incredible for them, what an awesome start to their week.”

And then I had that moment,

What About Me?

The only cure for that is to get actively doing. To write and to edit —so I sat down with another manuscript because my plan for January was to read the things that were in process.

I also decided to give myself the freedom to write from scratch —not a rewrite —not anything specific—just taking a first line I had an idea for years ago, but I’ve never really pursued. So I did that for about an hour.

When you’re acting and you’re not employed, you’re in class. You’re putting scenes up; you’re getting critiqued on them. People are telling you you were great or they’re telling you you were lousy.

You are actively in the pursuit of excellence, but with people around you. As a writer there’s no cheering section. There’s no one telling you you did a good job today because no one’s reading it. One day they will ,but for the present they are not. A lot of y our time looks like this:

Or this:

No cheering section, no audience, no input besides your own. Until you ask for it.

You have to be willing to be bad in order to get better. You have to be willing to have people tell you you suck in order to get better at anything.

My choir teacher back in ninth grade used to say,  “please make a big mistake so I can hear it and we can fix it in rehearsal.”

So I must be patient. I must be willing to be not good and I must be willing to hear what people are trying to tell me.

And so must you.

So let’s get out there and shoot for the moon and if you need some enthusiasm, encouragement and just a really good cry go watch the short “dear basketball.” It will remind you what the pursuit of excellence looks like.

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2 Responses

  1. Pamela Leichsenring
    | Reply

    My name is Pam. Yesterday was my 68th birthday, and what a precious gift to find your website. Life forever holds lovely surprises for we humans.
    How did I find you??
    A good friend of mine once told me that the only way she could get her young son to read was to offer him a book written by
    Louis L’amour. Sadly, she passed five years ago, after losing her battle with breast cancer. But, I never forgot her words…
    Recently, I discovered two of your father’s books at our favorite store, Goodwill, in Iowa City, Iowa. Today, with great anticipation, I will begin reading “Sitka”.

    I love reading about all kinds of people through Wikipedia. So, before starting my read, I wanted to become acquainted with
    your father… quite an interesting man!
    And, then, I wanted to know about his family. What a beautiful daughter you are
    on so many levels…
    I will continue to read your father’s literary works… soaking up knowledge through his experiences. And, what an added bonus to become acquainted with you, also.
    I too, returned to college at 53 years of age.
    What a wonderful experience… I was even asked to give the commencement speech!

    Sincerely, Pamela

    • Angelique L’Amour
      | Reply

      Thank you so much for commenting! I love hearing about how people found my dad’s books. I am still planning on continuing my degree –I am still enrolled and need to take a class this year–just to keep moving forward but I have been writing!

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