Janet Sumner Johnson
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tools

Tools

Sep

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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