Ok, who out there is watching American Idol this year? Is it my imagination or is the talent spectacular this year. In previous seasons, there was always one or two people that were really awful but they kept being voted in for popularity reasons. But this season there really is no one that is awful.

While I was watching the show last night, I realized that writing is a lot like singing. Like singing, I do believe you have to naturally have a little talent to begin with but in order to get really good at it, you have to practice, practice, practice. As well as do tons of research.

Singers, like writers, have to develop their special ability and find where they stand out the most in order to be effective and get their message across. Some singers can belt out a rock-n-roll song and others are far better at singing nice, soft ballads. Some writers have a natural talent for writing mysteries, romance novels, or they may be better at writing for children.

But just like singers, it’s important for us writers to stand out in some way. I am in a critique group where we send in a story every month, according to a certain prompt, and then we vote for which story we like best. I seem to always end up with only 1 or 2 votes! I have never won or really even come close. Although I do believe I have a talent for writing, I don’t seem to be able to bring out that certain SPECIAL something. That thing that stands out from every other story. That’s why I don’t ever enter writing contests. There is just too much competition. Maybe someday, once I find that special quality in my writing that will make my stories stand out from the crowd, I’ll enter one.  I know it’s in me to win so I will not give up until I find my strongest quality where I’ll shine above and beyond. Until then, it’s off to do more research and practice writing some more!

Have you found that certain SPECIAL talent in your writing that sets you apart from other writers? If so, please share!


  1. Last year I entered a lot of contests. I wanted feedback so I'd know what I needed to work on. I got a lot of similar responses saying I have a great voice. Even agents and editors told me they liked my voice. I was so happy to hear this because so many people say it's all about the voice. To be more specific, everything I submitted to these contests where middle grade level, so apparently that's where my voice is strong. I love that age group, so I'm just fine with that. :)

  2. Kelly,

    That's exactly what everyone is telling me, they love my voice and that is so thrilling to me!! So I feel like that is my strength, at least in picture books. So, guess I'll keep on talking!

  3. Allyn- Love children's books! So glad to find your blog. I'm now following you, too (cluedn).

    Tammy @Tammy's Book Parlor

  4. I don't really have any answers on writing because I'm not a writer, but I think you have a good point. I had never thought of writing like singing, but I guess they are similar.
    I think it has a lot to do with being connected to whatever you're writing/singing about. Like Thia on Idol this year...she had a great voice but I never liked listening to her. I didn't click for me. Sometimes I think books fall flat for the same reason.

  5. So true, Kathy. And I agree about Thia. She had a great voice, it just wasn't enough. Maybe in a few years she'll find a way to bring some more excitement into her singing!

  6. I dont really feel that I have anything "special" in the talent section. I just strive to do better in each new project I take on. Whether its voice, or character, or setting, just better than before.


  7. Allyn,
    Go for the contests! I think you're a natural at writing for children & like Kelly said, you get lots of feedback which will help you improve.

  8. I've been told my writing is "strong", whatever that means. :) I liked your comparison between writing and singing. Since I do both, I can see the similarity.

    I've left you an award, Allyn. Come over to to collect your prize. :)