This past year, Ann was supposedly writing this book with C.C., which means that she was spending her evenings watching a lot of TV. Shows she had never watched were suddenly must-see TV, especially reality shows, which handily aired more frequently than most network sitcoms or dramas. American Idol airs up to three times a week, for example, and she could easily burn two hours a week on Project Runway or its companion show, Models of the Runway. Together, they kept her willingly distracted almost every night of the week.
If you spend a lot of time watching competition shows like American Idol or Project Runway, you start to notice some patterns: those who emerge as finalists are the ones who, as then-Idol judge Kara DioGuardi was fond of telling the singing contestants, "know who they are." The designers competing for the top prize on Project Runway or solo artists on American Idol have a point of view that they express on the runway or stage. They use their voices or clothing designs to express their ideas, emotions, and unique ways of viewing the world. With this point of view as a foundation, each competitor tells a story and weaves a kind of narrative. Night after night, week after week, you start to get a sense, through that narrative, of who they really are.
As much as she was trying to avoid thinking about this book, the parallel was hard to ignore (damn!): A critical step in developing great content is to develop your own distinct voice.
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