Challenge,  On Writing,  publishing

Jennifer Lopez Quote…

From World of Dance…

Kris and I liked watching both The Voice and World of Dance. It sure makes writing seem like an easy profession, and makes most want-to-be writers look like wimps, that’s for sure.

But at times, in both shows, one of the superstars says something that makes Kris and I stop the show and write it down.

On the show we were watching yesterday, there was a young dance group, a little ragged, but working hard and driven that was up against two professional dancers who were so good it was stunning. But they had no excitement, and one judge made a comment to them that they can’t come into a top competition like this one just thinking they would cruise through the qualifiers.

Then Jennifer Lopez whispered to one of the other judges as they were talking about the two groups…

“Hard work beats talent when talent don’t work hard.”

Both other judges just nodded in agreement.

And they gave the round to the driven, but not perfect group who was working hard and getting better, eliminating the other two far more talented dancers.

In writing I have seen this more hundreds of times over the years than I care to think about. I was one of the worst writers at my Clarion six-week workshop, if not the worst, but I am the most successful by a long, long ways because I worked harder than everyone else. In fact, I am now more successful than most of my instructors that year by far. Weird, but true.

Some of this comes from writers not understanding the definition of the word “talent.” Talent is just a measure of a skill at a moment in time.

For example, to your English teacher, you might have been the most talented writer he or she had seen. But that means nothing at all in the professional commercial world. My English teacher thought I was a waste of space in her class. I went back to her class right before she retired and talked to her students about what it was like to be a real professional writer after I had published over a hundred novels.

I work harder than every writer I have ever met, period. I love writing, I love learning, I love publishing, so the fact that seven days a week I get up and still find myself going at writing and publishing and teaching 16 hours later is just who I am. And why I have gotten as far as I have.

If someone is being rude and wonders why I have gotten this far, or how I have written two hundred novels, I say, “Because I work harder than anyone you know.”

But mostly when someone asks me how I have written so many books and they are actually curious, I say, “One word after another for forty years.” They nod at that and seem happy.

So remember, if you are having critical voice issues, thinking you are not good enough, being afraid to put anything out, not getting to the writing, not finishing stories, remember Jennifer Lopez’s words…

“Hard work beats talent when talent don’t work hard.”

Then get back to it.

And remember to have fun.


  • Britt Malka

    That’s a wonderful quote from Jennifer Lopez.

    It reminds me of when I went to school and high school. I would often see bright kids doing worse than some who were not that bright, but who worked a lot harder to learn.

    Talent is like a computer. You can have the biggest and best machine, but if you don’t turn it on… then every little smart phone will beat you.

  • Heather Strickler

    Thanks for this. I needed this one. Critical Voice has been digging in its heels. Thanks for the cudgel to beat it back into it’s cage.

  • Melony Gallant

    My Language teacher in school told me that I sucked at writing. I’m so glad I never gave in and listened to her words. I’ve written multiple wonderful stories that might never have been written if I allowed the critical voice of another person to rule my mind.