Monday, January 2, 2012

The role of work, and some recommended reads

It's a day to be chock full of linky goodness. And riboflavin. (Assuming I can find some riboflavin hanging around here.)

My first link is to Natalie Whipple's post on the role work plays in our writing life. Sometimes we get so caught up in thinking about talent and luck and the actions of others--all the things we can't control--that we forget the part we can control: the work. The practice, the trial and error, the sheer hours and sweat we can put in. As Natalie writes: "Lots of people tell me I'm talented at certain things now, but I know the truth and am mostly proud of that truth. There was very little talent involved ... If I want to be good at something, the only way for me to get it is through hard work and endurance."

Interestingly, I encountered that same idea in another place just this past week, when I finally got around to reading the highly recommended MG novel A Crooked Kind of Perfect (Linda Urban). The main character, Zoe, wants to be a musical prodigy. But music doesn't come easy to her, and she decides she might as well quit. Then she hears a radio interview of a young musician who plays beautifully ... as a result of practicing four hours a day. Zoe says, "Who knew you'd have to work four hours a day to make something sound so easy?"

Switching gears here ... I was thrilled to be able to blog for NPR about one of my all-time favorite YA novels. I love NPR, and I love Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You (as longtime readers of this blog already know). I blogged for the feature called "My Guilty Pleasure," but honestly, I don't feel all that guilty about loving that book. ;-)

Finally, I'll note that the "Eve's Fan Garden" site is featuring my upcoming novel, Try Not to Breathe, as the book of the week. There are several features, including a giveaway, so check that out if you're interested.


  1. Great links! And congrats on NPR and also the book feature!

  2. Congratulations on the NPR blog post and the book of the week feature! What a wonderful way to being 2012.

    And I couldn't agree more about the importance of hard work. I'll have to check out Natalie Whipple's post.

  3. Thanks, Cynthia!
    Those quotes about work remind me the story doesn't always come floating right into my head ...

  4. One of my main philosophies in life! Talent is nice, but even with talent it takes a lot of work to be disciplined about writing.

  5. I enjoyed A Crooked Kind of Perfect immensely. I read it with my daughter who was reading it for school.

    Hard work makes all the difference, in all things, I believe. Happy New Year, Jenn! Here's to having all the energy we need to put the hard work into our writing.

  6. Alexia: Oh yes. In fact, work may even be more important. Which is comforting, since we have more control over work than talent!

    Mieke: Wasn't it good? People have been recommending that book to me for years, and I kept meaning to pick it up. Finally did!
    And happy writing!