Pop music sensation Katy Perry is set to release a biopic July 5 titled, Part of Me, where she gives fans a glimpse inside her world. She discusses her successes and her tough times. As I read one article about the upcoming movie, I realized the insight Perry is set to share just might be something other writers can gain inspiration and insight from — after all, she also is a writer, a songwriter.
Here are three things a writer can learn from actor/ singer/ songwriter Katy Perry:
1. You can make it through your tough time. “Even if life hands you obstacles and curveballs, you too can get through it if you really want to,” she says in an ETOnline.com article by Robert Pace. Perry wasn’t any type of overnight success. She had to go through some drama and lots of disappointments to become the award-winning, chart-topping artist she is today. One record label folded, a couple others dropped her — yeah, just decided they didn’t want her after all. But she hung in there.
If you are an aspiring writer and you are struggling to land a book deal or fighting to get published in a magazine or anywhere else, remember this. Getting dumped is no fun and being told that you’re not good enough is disappointing. In fact, sometimes you have to get beaten up on your way to the top. Most people give up because creating success is too difficult. But hang in there. Keep working hard to do your thing. And you’ll find a way.
2. Perfection not required. In this article from MTV.com, Perry says, “I think it’s important for young kids to see that you don’t have to be perfect in order to achieve your dreams.” In fact, she says, it’s not about being perfect. It’s about having a dream and being willing to work really hard for that dream. I’ve met many people who aspire to write, but they never get very far because they are paralyzed by the idea of perfection. They think they must carefully craft every sentence to perfection. They think they must wait for the perfect moment to write. They think they must look for the perfect opportunity. But a successful writing career isn’t about any of that. It’s about going with your gloriously imperfect self and pushing through anyway. Never let some weird idea of perfection keep you from pursuing your dream of writing success.
A perfect opportunity can come from a screwed up, difficult, muddled mess. Perry started out trying to be Christian artist, performing under her given name, Katy Hudson. That 2001 album didn’t go anywhere. Another album was shelved. And on. It wasn’t until 2008 that she had a mainstream hit, as she rebranded herself Katy Perry. But that hit and the career she has today would not have been possible without the imperfect, messy work that came before.
3. Success doesn’t just happen. In this piece, Perry is pretty clear about her work ethic: “It seems very serendipitous, but, as un-fun as it sounds, I prepare everything. I’m overly prepared and kind of a control freak in the best of ways.” If you’re looking to make a living writing, you’ve got to plan to do so. You can’t just hope “luck” will find you and bestow favor upon you. Planning to be successful means doing the things it takes to get there — refining your skills, educating yourself about running a writing business, developing the tools to solicit and execute projects, etc. Planning to be successful means putting in the early-morning or late-night hours because the rest of the day is filled with your “real” job. Planning to be successful means listening to constructive criticism and taking something from it that can help. Planning to be successful means being willing to take on less-than exciting projects to gain experience.
These lessons from Katy Perry can help you develop the most important tool you’ll need to pursue your writing success: Your mind. It takes a strong mind to make a living writing.
What else is important to having a successful writing career?