A couple of weeks ago on twitter, I made the statement that it’s easier for a performing artist to remember their bad shows than their good shows. I wasn’t suggesting that good shows are meaningless or unappreciated, my point was that we remember the bad shows more often because they provide a larger opportunity for learning and growth. In most instances, it’s hard to justify a reevaluation of your strategies when you’re being successful. But as soon as you fail, you start to question everything. In my opinion, the best performers aren’t the best because they have a talent others lack, they’re the best because they’ve all had bad experiences that made them take their level of preparation and performance up a notch.
When one of my fans asked me about what my worst show experience was, my reply was that I had so many I could write a whole book and it would be pretty funny (and tragic). To my surprise, quite a few people said they would definitely buy the book if I wrote it.
I laughed about it at the time but the seed was planted. I remembered how, many many years ago, I did a post about my worst shows on a forum that got a ton of responses. I started wondering if it were really possible to extend the concept into a full-length book, so as I ran around that day I started writing a “best of the worst” list in my phone. By the end of my brainstorming I had come up with about 17 possible stories, or chapters. Knowing that the editing process would easily remove a few of them – those that didn’t translate well into written format or weren’t strong ideas to begin with – I predicted a book on the topic would probably end up with 13-15 chapters. I decided to use that list of stories as a rough outline for the book.
I’ve had book ideas I thought were great before that fizzled once I sat down and started writing. My concern was that many of the crazy things I’ve seen on tour aren’t really stories–they’re just isolated crazy incidents. Sometimes it’s just a normal night where something weird happened, like walking out of our 2011 show in LA to see a chick with her pants down, sitting on the bumper of our van peeing on it. While that’s a great memory and funny as hell, it’s not enough to justify putting in a book unless the entire night was messed up. Those are the kinds of things I had to avoid.
So I began writing.
I wrote a draft of the first chapter and liked it enough to keep writing.
In the past fourteen days, I’ve written 1500-2000 words in eleven of them. I told myself that if I wrote 1500-2000 words a day I could finish the first draft of the book in less than three weeks time. I realize my three week goal is pretty ambitious, but sometimes you need to try ambitious things or you’ll get bored. I figure that even if I fail I’ll still be very deep into the process, which is nothing to be ashamed about. As of today, I now have drafts for 11 of the 17 chapters in my original outline. Obviously, I haven’t had much of a social life in the past two weeks, nor have I been able to blog as much. But its been really fulfilling to write that much almost every day and to relive some of the crazy things I’ve bene through. I just want to keep writing while I’m inspired and have momentum on my side.
Anyways, I say all that to say this–I’ve officially started writing my next book. I hope to finish my first draft in a week or so, and then begin the editing phase sometime this month.
It doesn’t have a title yet. I’ll share some of them in my next update to get your feedback.
I’ll also post my outline in the coming week.
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