I know I have been AWOL for a while, what with a new baby and a sick kid and a baptism and trying to get back to work, but while all of that was going on, Season 6 started! It’s so hard to believe that it was two years ago that I was starting my own journey in LJ Idol. Back then, I had seen that two of my friends had joined up, and I thought it would be fun to join along. I had no inkling that I would go as far as I did.
So now, two years later, Gary has asked all of the former winners to say a few words at the beginning of this season, and of course, I am happy to do so.
LJ Idol can’t make you rich or famous; your prize is glory and an icon, and believe me the glory doesn’t last for very long. But the Icon is very pretty. It says “Winner” on it! If you win, your friends will all send you text messages and IMs and email messages congratulating you, and every so often someone will refer to you as “a famous writer,” but for the most part, three days after the competition ends, the glory ends, too.
But whether you go for one round or thirty rounds, it is the participation that will stay with you forever. There are people who don’t play in the Green Room, and people who just write their entries and don’t read others, and people who don’t participate in commenting; they are getting a less rich experience than the people who do all of these things. Back in Season 4, Yahoo Live was still up and running, and those of us who participated in that, albeit unofficial, aspect of the season, still talk about those days as one of the most fun parts of the season. Live doesn’t exist anymore, but other social aspects of the game still do exist, and you are missing out if you play this game without making new friends.
As for me, I took away more from Idol than I ever expected. I found my writer’s voice, when I had believed it was gone forever. I learned about myself, and how I write under pressure. I found friendships I never would have otherwise found–some online but some wonderful ones in person, too! I’m getting a bunch of my essays published in a real, honest-to-goodness book! And I have so much material that I am submitting some others to another publication as well!
Idol becomes what you make of it. Try to remember to have fun. Write well. Ask for someone you trust to edit your work, or at least run a second set of eyes over it. Try to remember to have fun. Play nice with others. Be nice to Gary. Take criticism gracefully. And try to remember to have fun.
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