I love dressing up. No! Stop it! I don’t mean in a saucy “ooh matron” fifty shades kind of way! I mean 70s gear, murder mysteries, theme party kind of way. And on Saturday night, I got to dig out my huge bag of outfits and go back to the 80s. The 80s for me were age 7 to 17 so meant my childhood, my first broken heart, friendships made and lost, my school years, discovering music and attempting to discover fashion. To be fair, I was briefly very trendy. I owned not one, not two, but three ra-ra skirts. I had a big perm. I had fluorescent socks (worn one pink, one yellow of course; bang on trend) and I had roller boots and a Sony Walkman. How cool was I?
So Saturday night took me back to those days. My hair is short these days so I attempted big and back-combed which wasn’t so easy but the neon was easier. Leg-warmers, net skirt, bangles, beads … absolutely gorgeous. And here’s the proof …
Yep, pretty scary isn’t it. And also a reminder that I must get back on that diet. I’d been doing so well until I discovered the chocolate machine downstairs at work.
But what has all of this got to do with writing? I do have a point. Honest. I said I discovered music in the 80s and I still think this is the best era of music. Ever. From cheesy pop to new romantics and even a bit of Ska, I love it all. And my useless knowledge won us the quiz at our 80s night which yielded a prize of 4 main meals at the venue. Very nice. But that’s not my point. My point is that trying to become a writer is like the music of the 1980s. Bear with me …
Imagine (John Lennon): It starts with an idea and you begin to imagine your characters, your world, the dilemmas, the pain and the joy and, because I write romances, the happy ever after
It Started With a Kiss (Hot Chocolate): That’s it. You’ve got your hero and you’ve fallen in love with him. The moment he first kisses your lead, it’s like he’s kissing you too. Awww
I Know Him So Well (Elaine Paige & Barbara Dickson): It gets to the point where you know your hero better than you know your own partner. And perhaps even like him better than you like your own partner! Boy is it disappointing when your husband doesn’t behave in the same way as your hero (sorry hubby but you have a lot to live up to!)
Never Gonna Give You Up (Rick Astley): That moment arrives where you’ve written “the end”. You’ve edited then tweaked then edited some more and you realise that, unless it’s going to remain a computer file for the rest of your life, you’re going to have to let someone else read your manuscript. Eek! It’s very, very hard to let go for the first time
Relax! (Frankie Goes to Hollywood): That’s it! You’ve done it. You’ve submitted your MS for the first time, whether this be to a beta-reader or several or even a formal critiquing service. It’s time to relax. Except it isn’t really. Knowing that your ‘baby’ is being read by others for the first time ever is the most nerve-wracking thing ever. What if they hate it? What if they think you can’t write? What if you’ve wasted the last ‘X’ months/years of your life on a pile of grammatically-incorrect poorly-observed pile of twaddle. Relax is not the word
I Just Called To Say I Love You (Stevie Wonder): But then you get the call, text, email or Facebook message from your beta reader or critique service and it turns out you weren’t wasting your time. You can write. You have a great story. They loved it! You’re on your way!
The Land of Make Believe (Bucks Fizz): You do a final edit and you compile a list of agents and/or publishers to approach. You start daring to dream of that make-believe land where you can pack in the day job and write every day … and actually get paid for it. It’s time to send it out into the big bad world
Blue Monday (New Order): Your first rejection arrives. Blue Monday (or Tuesday, or Wednesday …) You expected it but it’s still hard because all you can think is …
Don’t You Want Me? (Human League): … and it appears they don’t. But you keep trying because you so desperately want someone to …
Take On Me (A-ha): Please take me on! Please!!! I’ll be a really good writer and do all the edits you suggest and meet all your deadlines. I promise. Just please take me on!
Then you get THE CALL …
Hello … Is it me you’re looking for (Lionel Richie). “She’s got it! Yeah baby she’s got it” (Venus, Bananarama). You know that Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now (Starship), The Only Way Is Up (Yazz) and Fame (Irene Cara) is just around the corner … except it’s not the fame you do it for. You do it because you can’t not do it. You have stories to tell. You have characters who need to tell them. And you couldn’t imagine a world where you didn’t let them.
So who’s going to Take On Me? I’m still wishing and Waiting for a Star to Fall (Boy Meets Girl). Please Don’t Leave Me This Way (The Communards). Say I’m Your Number One (Princess) and I’ll pack in my 9-5 (Dolly Parton/Sheena Easton). I’m Hungry Like The Wolf (Duran Duran) for this and, no matter how many rejections I get, I will Hold on Tight (ELO) to my dreams, just Wishing I Was Lucky (Wet Wet Wet).
I think I’d better end this post before I shoe-horn in any more 80s songs as even I can see it’s dripping in mozzarella now! Hope you liked my 80s references and they brought back a few classic 80s tunes to mind.
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10 thoughts on “Becoming a writer is like 80s music. Really it is! Don’t believe me? …”
Aw Julie, what a fab post! Love the way you managed to get so many 80s songs in there. I was ankle deep in nappies so missed out on a lot of the fun of that decade! Honestly, I can so relate to what you were saying and agree with every word. You will get there. Look, you can write such a fabulous, fun blog. Someone will snap you up very soon, I’m sure! xx
Oh thank you Sharon. Glad you liked it. I felt the need to post and I sat with a blank page in front of me (or should that be blank screen?) thinking “What on earth can I write about?” I started with a title that happened to be a lyric of a song and suddenly I had the idea. Funny where inspiration comes from, isn’t it?! Thanks for visiting and supporting the blog xx
Brilliant post, Julie. Some nice memories evoked there – my son Luke, born ’78, was so inspired by the music of his young days he spent all his time watching pop shows on TV, recording songs on tape and working out dance moves. He was a great fan of Barbara Dickson and I took him to a concert where he promptly fell asleep! We duly forked out for part-time stage school so he could indulge his passion and he had a great time performing in local shows. His interest in pop music and TV served him well as he now has a top job at MTV. Enjoyed your writing analogies too, Julie. V. clever. x
Hi Deirdre, thank you for visiting and leaving a comment and what a fabulous insight into your son’s career. I didn’t know that and I’m dying to hear more about it. Sounds very exciting! I absolutely adored 80s music and still do. We had a mainly 80s-themed disco at our wedding and the dance floor was packed all night. The DJ was resident at the hotel and said he’d never seen a wedding disco so good although, embarrassingly, he made me feel very old when he hadn’t a clue who most of the artists on my playlist were! I ended up lending him about 30 or so CDs so he could play the stuff I wanted but, by the end, I’m certain I’d introduced him to a world of music that he will have embraced since! Thanks also for your kind words xx
Ra-ra skirts and leg warmers! What wonderful memories!! Great post Julie
Thank you so much. Ooh, you gotta love leg warmers! xx
That is a brilliant picture Julie and a great post as well, i’ve been humming most of the songs whilst reading it. God I loved the 80’s xx
Thanks Helen. Really glad you’ve been inspired for a sing-along! xx
I totally agree Julie that the 80s were the best decade music wise. It makes me laugh when my daughter thinks all the songs sung by the Glee cast are new, when most of them were nicked from the 80s! I am feeling very ‘Don’t You Want Me Baby’ at the moment, but as Captain Sensible, another stalwart of the 80s said in Happy Talk – “You’ve got to have a dream, if you don’t have a dream, how you gonna have a dream come true?” Fab post btw and am I’m sure you’ll get that call soon. Jo xx
Hee hee Jo, it’s funny how those 80 tunes have all stuck around for so long. What I love when watching US films and programmes like Glee is how many of the songs are from UK artists. We made a major impact on the 80s! I know what you mean about the ‘Don’t You Want Me’ because I’m feeling like that at the moment too but, as you say, the Captain gives the other perspective. Here’s to hoping to have some Happy Talk of our own soon xxx