Friday, 6 January 2012

X is for XFactor - the Magic Ingredient

I listened to Adele in concert over Christmas.  Wow, what an amazing voice she has - and still so young.  It's sickening how talented she is.  

I was so inspired I went onto her website out of curiosity.  She's had to cancel some concerts recently due to vocal strain.  I checked out the list of venues - my word, practically every day she was scheduled to perform in a different city in the UK and USA.  Adele may be incredibly talented but she also works hard.  

I wish I was as naturally gifted as Adele is.  But I'm not, and there's no point in fretting about it.  What I can do is work as hard as she does.  Stephen King says he writes 2000 words a day, every day, including Christmas and birthdays.  I don't, and my output reflects that.  Regardless of how talented you may or may not be, if you don't put in the time, you won't get far. 

So my tips to getting the writing X factor would always start with putting the time in.  Then I'd add:
- learning about writing through reading.  
- matching your voice to the right form.
- being persistent.
- keeping the faith
- being patient.  

To be honest, even if you're as super-talented as Adele is, unless you have the other elements it won't make any difference how talented you are.  Becoming a writer is all about a package of factors, and not just one arbitrary element called talent. 


womagwriter said...

Oh yes, talent is nothing without application.

I loved that Adele concert too. She is simply amazing.

Philip C James said...

Nice post. I think I saw the same programme. BBC2, Adele live at the Royal Albert Hall?

A voice with personality, I described it as.

Strength, talent and, I'm guessing, with some training or a proclivity to learn. And from what she was saying, it's been a hard slog to the dizzy heights.

Let's skip the debate about whether opera singers are too highly trained to master spontaneity but I guess you could add the willingness to learn from others, whether formally or informally to your short-list.

But isn't that why we're reading your excellent blog, Sarah?

penny simpson said...

We all spend too much time wondering if we've got the talent or moaning that we haven't, when if we put in a lot more perspiration we might find out! And yes, Penny, I am talking to you!

Sarah - Happy New Year - could you expand in a future post on matching voice to writing. I get what you're saying, but more would be good.

Must go: dogs to pat, birds to stare out of the window at, reviews to post on Amazon,...anything but write!

penny simpson said...

Oh, you already have written about Voice. Duh!

Emma Lee-Potter said...

I adore that Adele concert too. I got the DVD as a Christmas present. But I love the way you link Adele's amazing talent to advice on writing. So helpful!

Sarah Duncan said...

Yes, it was the RAH one. As Kath says, simply amazing.

Phil, flattery always goes down well...

Penny, glad you've now seen the voice & form post, hope that's OK. Dogs have to be patted, not so sure about staring at birds.

Thanks Emma!

Writer Pat Newcombe said...

I so agree... But you'll never know if you're talented or not if you don't put the hours in! What we need is butt glue!

Jennifer Mackerras said...

This is such a wonderful post!

It is so tempting to give in to the idea that people who are great at what they do are just naturally talented. Even more tempting is the follow-up thought: I'm not that talented, so I probably won't be as good...
What rubbish! Talented people work hard. That is why they are talented. Nigel Kennedy may have had some natural ability at playing the violin, but I bet it wouldn't have counted for much without all the hours of practice.
We all need these regular reminders to stick at what we do. Thank you!