Janet Sumner Johnson
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Sep 16, 2013 Uncategorized 6 comments

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?


6 Responses to β€œTools”

  1. Old Kitty says:

    I'd love a baking stone only because I don't know what they are!

    Equipping oneself with the right tools is always a good thing. Finding what works for your situation and making do helps as well! Take care

  2. I used to think that about writing, too. I thought since I wasn't born with the gift, I couldn't do it. I didn't realize it just meant I needed to read a lot of craft books and practice, practice, practice. πŸ˜€

  3. That is really true! You can have talent but if you aren't fully equipped, nothing you do will turn out perfect.

  4. This is all so true and well and good. But where is the cookie recipe? ; )

  5. Marcia says:

    That is just so true about the right tools making all the difference, no matter what job you're doing.

  6. I had a lightbulb moment about this same thing last summer. Someone taught me a really basic writing tool that made a HUGE difference. And I'd already read tons of books, writing books and fiction, but i hadn't picked up on it. Then shortly after my discovery, I began seeing posts on it all over the place πŸ™‚

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