Janet Sumner Johnson
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16, 2013 |

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I have this cookie recipe that is just . . . Yum. So yum that people ask for the recipe all the time. Now I’m no master baker, but seriously, these cookies rock.

Which is why I was so surprised when I got some feedback that the cookies weren’t working out. Had I missed an ingredient? Forgotten to tell them something? What was the secret that I was withholding?!!

I couldn’t figure it out until I made them during a visit to my parents. The cookies weren’t the same at all! I’d used my same recipe. I’d done everything the same, so why had I failed?

And then it hit me. The pans! At home I always use a baking stone. My parents didn’t have one. And oh, what a difference it made.

So it turns out that my cookies aren’t amazing because of any special talent I have, but rather because of the tools I use.

A lesson that applies to life. When I started writing, I thought that getting published was about talent. Only those who were born with an intrinsic ability to write could attain such a lofty goal. But I’ve since learned differently. Writing (or drawing, or playing a sport, or whatever it is you love to do) isn’t about talent. It’s about tools. And getting those tools is about work.

You want to write characters who are real? Start reading about characterization. In the blogosphere alone there are countless articles on how to do this. Check out a few books on writing, then practice, practice, practice. That is how you gain the tool of creating awesome characters. And the same goes for any other aspect of writing, or really of anything.

You don’t think your talented enough? So what! Get out there and do the work. Practice, practice, practice. Because that, my friends, is where it’s at.

Have you ever gotten a “tool” through practice and hard work?

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Maestro London


03, 2010 |

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Growing up, we had a rule: when you turn 5, you start piano lessons. So what a slacker am I . . . London was already 6 and I hadn’t started him on lessons yet. I wanted to wait till we could afford to have someone else teach him, but that could be years.

Sooo, I took the plunge a few weeks ago and London is doing great! I think his favorite part is getting to put the stickers on the pages he’s passed off. My favorite part is playing duets with my child. If I’d known how awesome that felt, I would have started him a long time ago!

Now, don’t get me wrong, we have our moments . . . “But Mom! I don’t want to practice! I want to play!” We get the flopping to the floor and the literal dragging himself to the piano. But when he played a piece over the phone for grandma and grandpa, he had a mighty proud look on his face. And when daddy gets home, he’s pretty quick to offer to play his piano piece. All in all, I’m one proud mama. 😀

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